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Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs)

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (Oral) Nurofen, Brufen, Aleve, Synflex Adult, Children

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) - What is it for

​Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a group of medications commonly used to treat pain and reduce inflammation. It can also be used to bring down the body temperature during a fever and to relieve headaches, joint or muscle pain/inflammation, gout attacks, toothaches and menstrual pain.

Examples of oral NSAIDs available over the counter include Ibuprofen and Naproxen. Other NSAIDs which require a prescription from the doctor include Diclofenac, Mefenamic Acid, Ketoprofen, Piroxicam, Indomethacin, Celecoxib and Etoricoxib.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) cause?

  • Patients taking NSAIDs may have increased risk of bleeding. If you experience any serious bleeding, you should stop the medication and inform your healthcare professional immediately.

           Serious bleeding may include one or more of the following:

      • Blood in the urine
      • Black and sticky stools (if you are not using iron supplements at the same time)
      • Unexplained large bruises
      • Cough up blood or coffee ground-like vomit
      • Sudden severe headache with nausea or loss of consciousness
  • The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
    • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
  • If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.
    • Chest pain
    • Breathlessness
    • Swelling or sudden weight gain

Before taking Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs), what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this class of medications or aspirin or any of the other ingredients in this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You have a history of stomach or bowel ulcers or bleeding, or bleeding problems.
  • You have asthma.
  • You have a history of kidney, heart problems or stroke.
  • You are planned for any medical procedures, surgeries or dental procedures.

Unless advised by your doctor, NSAIDs should be used at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest possible time. Prolonged use without medical supervision should be avoided as this may increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke, kidney problems and stomach ulcers.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs)?

​Do let your healthcare professional know if you are taking any other herbs, supplements or medications.

This includes the following medications:

  • Aspirin
  • ACE inhibitors (e.g. Captopril, Enalapril, Lisinopril) or Angiotensin II receptor blockers (e.g. Candesartan, Losartan, Valsartan)
  • Oral Corticosteroids (e.g. Prednisolone)
  • Diuretics (e.g. Frusemide)
  • Blood thinning medications (e.g. Clopidogrel, Dabigatran, Warfarin)

Avoid taking excessive amounts of alcohol when taking NSAIDs as this will increase the risk of bleeding in the stomach.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) - Dosage and How to Use

How should Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) be used?

​As there are different strengths and dosage forms for these medications, please make sure to take it as recommended on the label. Please check with your healthcare professional if you are unsure.

NSAIDs should be best taken with meals to reduce stomach irritation. Your healthcare professional may also give you an additional medication to protect the stomach. E.g. famotidine, omeprazole.
Do not exceed the dose recommended on the label as taking too much NSAIDs over time may cause serious stomach, kidney or heart problems.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​NSAIDs can be taken on as needed basis for short term use or regularly for certain conditions as prescribed by the doctor. 

If your doctor has prescribed NSAIDs for you to be taken regularly, do not stop taking your medication without checking with your healthcare professional. If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only the usual dose. Do not double your dose or use extra medication to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) - Handling

How should I handle Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) safely?

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) - Storage

How should I store Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs)?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

How should I dispose of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) safely?

​Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Oral NSAIDs) - Additional Information

​If you experience the following symptoms, your condition may be too serious for self-treatment and you should consult a doctor:

  • Ongoing fever even after 3 days of treatment
  • Ongoing headache that lasts for more than 2 days
  • No improvement in pain after 7 days of treatment
  • Any of the above symptoms worsen after treatment
    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

    If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

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