When NOT to Take NSAIDs

Many people find NSAIDs to be very effective for a variety of symptoms.  They are undeniably helpful with a wide range of painful disorders, especially those that result in swelling. Nevertheless, these drugs are not for everyone. They don’t agree with everyone’s individual health, and there are certain drugs that they interfere with.

Here are some existing conditions and issues that may interfere with someone’s ability to use NSAIDs.

Allergies – If someone is allergic to one NSAID, it’s very likely that person will be allergic to all of them. Allergies can be relatively mild – a rash, some tingling of the lips or tongue, or even something as simple as itching. Severe reactions might be hives, asthma attacks, or severe swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat.

Pre-Existing Heart Condition – With the exception of low-dose aspirin, NSAIDs have a well-known side effect of causing heart problems. They can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. These effects are dose dependent, and are especially common in people taking NSAIDs as a long-term option.

Liver Disease – NSAIDs are processed by the liver, so anyone with reduced liver function shouldn’t take NSAIDs.

Kidney Problems – Another common side effect of NSAIDs is reduced kidney function. So anyone taking these medications need to be aware that they reduce the effects of diuretic drugs. And since the kidneys are also responsible for removing certain materials from the bloodstream, NSAIDs prevent the body from getting rid of the drugs lithium and methotrexate.

Pregnancy – NSAIDs aren’t safe to take during pregnancy, especially the third trimester. Many of these drugs are used as a treatment for a condition called patent ductus arteriosis, a condition found in newborns in which a special blood vessel doesn’t close after birth like it should. Should that blood vessel close too soon, it could result in serious complications, so NSAIDs aren’t good for pregnant women.

Children and Babies – In general, these medications aren’t for young people. They can cause serious illnesses in children if over-used. Likewise, it’s not safe for nursing mothers to take NSAIDs as they can pass from the mother to child through the milk.

Excessive Bleeding – It doesn’t matter if a person has an increased risk of bleeding due to a medical condition or due to a blood thinning medication (such as warfarin), it’s unsafe to use NSAIDs.  A common side effect of these drugs is that they prevent clotting and thin the blood.  This is the effect that makes aspirin an effective preventative medicine in low doses.  Combined with other blood-thinning factors, though, the use of NSAIDs could be dangerous.

Regular Drinking – Drinking alcohol with NSAIDs significantly increases the risk of many side effects, especially stomach and intestinal bleeding.  The two drugs should never be consumed together, and anyone who regularly has more than 3 drinks a day shouldn’t use NSAIDs regularly.

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