Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medications that are commonly used to relieve pain and inflammation. NSAIDs are available over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription.
OTC NSAIDs are used to treat mild to moderate pain and inflammation. Prescription NSAIDs are used to treat more severe pain and inflammation. NSAIDs can be taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or injected.
NSAIDs were first developed in the 1950s. The first NSAID, aspirin, was developed by German chemist Felix Hoffmann. Aspirin is still used today to relieve pain and inflammation.
The chemical composition of NSAID is quite complex and includes a variety of different chemicals. Normally, the chemical composition could be one of the following forms:
- propionic acids (e.g. ibuprofen)
- acetylated salicylates (e.g. our old good aspirin and the like)
- non-acetylated salicylates
- acetic acids (e.g. diclofenac)
- enolic acids (e.g. piroxicam)
- in addition to other compositions
NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormones that are involved in the inflammation process. By inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, NSAIDs can help to reduce inflammation.
However, NSAIDs can also cause side effects, such as stomach ulcers, kidney problems, and bleeding. Therefore, taking NSAIDs only as directed by a healthcare provider is important.
There are many different types of NSAIDs available. Some of the most common NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac. NSAIDs are typically taken orally, but some are available in topical form.
Topical NSAIDs are applied directly to the skin. They are often used to relieve pain and inflammation from arthritis.
NSAIDs are generally safe and effective when used as directed. However, side effects can occur. If you experience any side effects from taking NSAIDs, talk to your healthcare provider.