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Arthritis Today

NSAIDs Overview

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce the inflammation that accompanies arthritis.

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Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve pain and inflammation from arthritis and related conditions. They work by blocking hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are involved in pain and inflammation. Traditional NSAIDs block prostaglandins by inhibiting two enzymes, cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). 

By doing so, they leave the stomach vulnerable to ulcers and bleeding. Celecoxib (Celebrex) blocks only the COX-2, enzyme. It is less likely to damage the stomach.

Every NSAID may increase the risk of serious blood clots, heart attacks and stroke, which can increase with higher doses and long-term use. Although all NSAIDs work similarly to ease pain and inflammation, finding the most appropriate one for you may take some trial and error.

To learn more, see the NSAIDs Drug Guide.

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