When searching for over-the-counter pain relief, you’ve probably taken an NSAID medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. But what kind of pain does an NSAID treat best and are there risks of side effects?
Jason Howland has more in this Mayo Clinic Minute.
Reducing inflammation, that’s what over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen do — a class a medications called NSAIDs.
“That stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” says Dr. Carrie Krieger, a clinical pharmacist at Mayo Clinic.
Ibuprofen, also known by brand names Advil and Motrin, and naproxen, known as Aleve, have qualities that reduce fever and help with general aches and pains. And where NSAIDs really shine is joint and muscle pain.
“It’s why often those with arthritis … that medication, because it can reduce inflammation and reduce swelling, has been most beneficial,” says Dr. Summer Allen, a Mayo Clinic family physician.
Typical over-the-counter doses for ibuprofen are 200 or 400 milligrams, not more than every six hours. Overuse of NSAIDs over an extended period of time can cause side effects.
“One of our greatest concerns with NSAIDs for patients is the fact that it can lead to bleeding in their GI, or stomach lining or tract,” says Dr. Allen.
“They can also cause concerns for people, particularly those who have reduced kidney function, they have been associated with kidney injury, in some cases,” says Dr. Krieger.
If you have questions about NSAIDs, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.