4 Myths About Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs) Busted!

by Christina Lasich, MD Health Professional

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs(NSAIDs) are the most prescribed medications in the world, but are also the most misunderstood medications. Here are some of the myths about NSAID's busted.

1. Some Work Better than Others: All anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen/Advil, naproxen sodium/Aleve, Celebrex, etc.) can be equally effective for treating pain. One does not work better than the other.

2. NSAID's Work Better Than Tylenol: Both types of pain medications seem to work equally well. The only advantage that Tylenol has over the NSAID's is that Tylenol has the least amount of side effects.

3. All Anti-Inflammatory Medications have Minimal Side Effects: These medications are known to damage the stomach and can even cause potentially life-threatening stomach ulcers (even Celebrex can cause ulcers). Lesser known side effects include kidney failures, abdominal pain, diarrhea, swelling, dry mouth, rash, dizziness, headaches, and tiredness.

4. Celebrex is Completely Safe: Remember Vioxx? Well, the same cardiovascular risks that caused Vioxx to be pulled from the market may also exist for Celebrex. At what dosage or duration is not known. Until more is known, it may prove best to only take Celebrex for a short period of time to ensure that the level associated with heart and blood pressure problems is not reached.

Most anti-inflammatory medications are available without a prescription. Yet, you should still consult your doctor before taking any type of medications because many misleading medication myths exist. And some myths, like these about the NSAIDs, could jeopardize your health. Better to be safe...

Christina Lasich, MD
Meet Our Writer
Christina Lasich, MD

Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.