• Sometimes called NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are a type of drug used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and lower fevers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory prescriptions are available in prescription-strength form as well as in over-the-counter forms you can purchase without a prescription.


    Types of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications include aspirin (Bayer and Ecotrin), ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and ketoprofen (Orudis KT).


    Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications work by preventing the production of chemicals known as prostaglandins, which cause pain and inflammation, reports the University of Virginia.


    Doctors recommend anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain caused by arthritis, sports-related injuries, falls, surgery and menstrual cramps.


    Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are available as tablets, capsules and in liquid form, with special formulations available for children. Some anti-inflammatory medications are extended-release, meaning their effects last for long periods of time than the regular version of the drug.


    Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may cause stomach irritation, posing a risk for digestive ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and intestinal perforation, warns the American College of Gastroenterology. NSAIDs may also cause heart attack or stroke, particularly when used continuously for long periods of time, cautions the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


    University of Virginia: How Aspirin and NSAIDs Work

    American College of Gastroenterology: Dangers of Aspirin & NSAIDs

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration: NSAID medicines may increase the chance of a heart attack

    More Information:

    Mayo Clinic: Ibuprofen (Oral Route)

    Mayo Clinic: Naproxen (Oral Route)

    Mayo Clinic: Ketoprofen (Oral Route)

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