Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Synonyms: NSAID

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Gastroenterology, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDs, are commonly recommended to relieve pain and decrease inflammation (the body's response to injury or irritation, marked by warmth, pain, swelling). They work by blocking production of inflammatory triggers. Besides helping to reduce fever, subdue a headache or ease minor aches caused by a cold, NSAIDs are often used to treat pain in a variety of conditions such as osteoarthritis, backaches, dental pain, gout and menstrual cramps. 

In Our Own Words

NSAIDs, as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually called, can ease fever and pain caused by a number of conditions. They block the action of certain chemical signals in the body that lead to the production of inflammation (pain and swelling).  

Relevant Conditions
Common Types
  • Nonselective vs. selective
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Salicylate
Side Effects
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  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medicines (NSAIDS)." Drugs Dec. 2008. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • American Academy of Family Physicians. "NSAID Prescribing Precautions.” Dec. 2009. www.aafp,org Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • Harvard Medical School. "NSAIDS--pain relief and skin cancer protection in one pill?" Harvard Women's Health Watch. June 2012. Accessed Aug. 2013.
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