Pain and Inflammation (NSAID Use)

No one wants to be in pain! We will do practically anything to not be in pain. Most people turn to prescription and non-prescription Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) for relief. Why? People are very familiar with these drugs from the massive amount of advertising by the pharmaceutical companies. Some of the many brand names available to consumers include Salicylates (Aspirin), Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Nuprin, Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Oxycodone and Acetaminophen (Percocet, Tylox), and Celecoxib (Celebrex).

Disturbing facts concerning NSAID use include:

  • Each year over 100,000 people are hospitalized with serious side effects from taking NSAIDS
  • Each year over 16,000 people die from the serious side effects from taking NSAIDs
  • More people die from NSAID side effects than from AIDS each year
  • More than 4 times as many people die from NSAID side effects as from Cervical cancer each year
  • Only 1 in 5 people who have serious problems from taking NSAIDs have warning symptoms
  • 20% of all chronic NSAID users will develop a peptic ulcer. NSAID users have a greater risk, 3 to 4 times higher, to having upper gastrointestinal bleeding, perforation, or both
  • 81% of patients hospitalized with serious NSAID induced complications had no previous gastrointestinal symptoms
  • 21% of all adverse drug reactions in the United States are due to NSAID use
  • People over 60 years of age have a significantly higher probability to experience complications associated with NSAID use
  • In the United States, there are over 13 million regular users of NSAIDS, 70 million NSAID prescriptions written every year, and 30 billion over-the-counter NSAID tablets sold annually

In future blogs, we will explore some of the specific adverse side effects caused by NSAID use and consider natural alternatives (diet and nutritional supplementation) in order to control pain and inflammation.