Tag Archives: NSAIDS

Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise? – Harvard

I exercise regularly and I also suffer from severe arthritis of the hands, so the subjects of exercise and painkillers touch me where I live. Following is a very informative write up of painkillers in general and NSAIDs in particular by Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

“Not long ago, I took ibuprofen after a dental procedure and was amazed at how well it worked. Millions of people have had similar experiences with ibuprofen and related medications (called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) when used for a number of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and headache. That’s why NSAIDs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide.”


Coincidentally, I stumbled across NSAIDs by accident. You can read about it in my post – What about a bubble on my elbow?

“More than a dozen different NSAIDs are available, including naproxen (as in Naprosyn or Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren) and indomethacin (Indocin). Aspirin is also an NSAID, though it is usually taken in small doses for its blood thinning effects (to prevent heart attack or stroke) rather than for pain.

NSAIDs are fairly safe, but not risk free

“The safety profile of NSAIDs is generally quite good, especially when taken in small doses for short periods of time. That’s why several of them, including ibuprofen and naproxen, are available in low doses over the counter in this country and elsewhere. Continue reading

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Filed under arthritis, chronic pain, Exercise, hand arthritis, joint pain, muscular pain, NSAID, osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis pain, pain, Pain relief, Uncategorized

AHA warns on drugs possibly causing heart failure

Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen who exercises daily and eats intelligent amounts and kinds of food to remain healthy. I take only a single drug for my prostate. Most of the seniors I know take a number of drugs, prescription and over the counter, to keep them going.

•    For the first time, the American Heart Association has issued a statement cautioning that drugs used to treat a variety of conditions can cause or worsen heart failure.
    •    Patients should show each of their healthcare providers a complete list of their medications, including over-the-counter drugs and natural supplements.
    •    Patients with heart failure should consult with a health professional before starting or stopping any medication.

Commonly used medications and nutritional supplements may cause or worsen heart failure, according to the first scientific statement from the American Heart Association to provide guidance on avoiding drug-drug or drug-condition interactions for people with heart failure.


The statement provides comprehensive information about specific drugs and “natural” remedies that may have serious unintended consequences for heart failure patients.

Heart failure patients have, on average five or more separate medical conditions and take seven or more prescription medications daily, often prescribed by different healthcare providers.

“Since many of the drugs heart failure patients are taking are prescribed for conditions such as cancer, neurological conditions, or infections, it is crucial but difficult for healthcare providers to reconcile whether a medication is interacting with heart failure drugs or making heart failure worse,” said Robert L. Page II, Pharm.D., M.S.P.H., chair of the writing committee for the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. (my emphasis)
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Some Common Painkillers are Dangerous – Study

As I mentioned a couple of days ago when posting on cold-brewed coffee, I drink decaf because I don’t like any kind of drugs in my system. Regular readers know that I suffer from severe arthritis in both hands. I took Naproxen Sodium once for something else, but found that it eased my arthritis pain. My doctor and I agreed that the Naproxen Sodium (an NSAID – see below) was too strong for me to take on a regular basis because of possible liver and other damage. All of that preamble is to put into some perspective this latest information on common painkillers – NSAIDs.aspirin-nsaid-allergy-chicago-rotskoff

FACTS about arthritis medicine (NSAID):
NSAIDs is an abbreviation for Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and is used to treat a wide range of diseases, in particular disorders in the muscular and bone system, where the drug counteracts swelling, pain and limitations in movement associated with inflammation.
• NSAIDs are not antibiotics and therefore do not help to fight infections caused by bacteria.
• NSAIDs are in Denmark sold both in low doses (Ibuprofen 200 mg/tablet) without a prescription and in higher doses and other types with a prescription.

Many Danes are prescribed NSAIDs for the treatment of painful conditions, fever and inflammation. But the treatment also comes with side effects, including the risk of ulcers and increased blood pressure. A major new study now gathers all research in the area. This shows that arthritis medicine is particularly dangerous for heart patients, and also that older types of arthritis medicine, which have not previously been in focus, also appear to be dangerous for the heart.

“It’s been well-known for a number of years that newer types of NSAIDs – what are known as COX-2 inhibitors, increase the risk of heart attacks. For this reason, a number of these newer types of NSAIDs have been taken off the market again. We can now see that some of the older NSAID types, particularly Diclofenac, are also associated with an increased risk of heart attack and apparently to the same extent as several of the types that were taken off the market,” says Morten Schmidt, MD and PhD from Aarhus University, who is in charge of the research project.

He adds:”This is worrying, because these older types of medicine are frequently used throughout the western world and in many countries available without prescription.” Continue reading


Filed under NSAID, Pain relief

How Do I Get Relief from Arthritis in my Hands?

For more than 20 years I have suffered from arthritis of the hands. Because I am a journalist, I thought I had carpal tunnel syndrome for much of that time. However, I fell off my bike and broke a bone in my wrist when I was in my 50’s and the doctor, looking at my X-rays, said I had arthritis not CTS. Turns out about half the people in the country suffer from arthritis.

If you aren’t clear on arthritis check out my Page What you should know about arthritis. I have written more than a dozen posts on the subject. For the record, I am talking about osteoarthritis, the most common version, not rheumatoid arthritis. Mine is at the base of each thumb, so I have pain using my hands to button, unbutton, turn a key, etc. Just about anything I use my hands for. Yes, that includes typing this.

The acrylic cast build by the Hand Clinic

The acrylic splint build by the Hand Clinic

When I started doctoring, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Hand Clinic built me an acrylic splint which I wore for several years. I stopped when I discovered trace minerals. You can read my post on that at the link.

I stumbled upon Naproxin Sodium 200 mg capsules a couple of years ago when I got Popeye Elbow and a doctor prescribed it to reduce the swelling. Turned out the Naproxin also relieved the pain in my hands, too.

The compression gloves I wear now

The compression gloves I wear now

When I discussed it with my internist, though, she said that there were some really dangerous side effects to regular use of Naproxin which is an NSAID (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug). So, she prescribed Pennsaid which is also an NSAID ointment. Since you rub it on instead of swallowing it, there is significantly less damage to your system that the ones you swallow.

I didn’t get much relief from Pennsaid and I also didn’t like sitting around for periods with both my hands covered with this drug. So I quit using it.

I picked up some Acetomenaphin (Tylenol) at Costco and started taking two 500 MG tablets every morning after that. I did that for a couple of years, but the pain relief benefits seemed to be tailing off and I didn’t want to up the dose. Continue reading


Filed under arthritis, hand arthritis

The Mayo Clinic on Arthritis and NSAIDs

I wrote this post nearly 10 years ago. I am rerunning it on the penultimate day of this year because – of all the posts I have written since starting the blog this one was the most popular. I hope you find it useful.

Arthritis can occur in more than 100 different forms, according to a Special Report of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter.  Here is the estimated prevalence in the U.S. of certain forms of arthritis:

Osteoarthritis – 27 million adults.
Rheumatoid arthritis – 1.5 million adults.
Gout – 8.3 million adults

NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) medicines are used to treat pain and redness, swelling and inflammation from medical conditions like arthritis.  The Mayo Health Letter said, “A topical anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called diclofenac sodium (Voltaren Gel) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for osteoarthritis. Others are likely to follow.

This is the location of my arthritis. It hurts to use a button, turn a key and grip anything tightly.

“Topical NSAIDs contain an agent that allows an NSAID drug … to penetrate the skin. This spares you from up to 95 percent of the drug exposure that would occur if the drug had been taken orally. But side effects are still possible.

“Mayo Clinic experts say the verdict isn’t fully in on whether topical NSAIDs are as effective as oral NSAIDs – or any more effective than are common, non-prescription arthritis creams of gels. It’s also not clear whether they pose the same risk of kidney or heart problems as do oral NSAIDs.”

I developed a bubble on my elbow back in February and my doctor prescribed the NSAID Naproxen for it. I took the drug for a week and the condition cleared up. But wait. While I was taking the drug I became aware that the painful arthritis I suffer from in each hand was hurting less. I told my doctor about this and she said that Naproxen was often prescribed to reduce pain in arthritis, but it is a strong drug with possible bad side effects like liver damage and internal bleeding. She prescribed Voltaren Gel instead because it is used externally.

So I am presently a live clinical study of how well Voltaren Gel works. I can say from three days of usage that it certainly reduces pain. I will let you know of further developments including side effects.

Update: One year later. I have stopped using Voltaren. I didn’t feel it gave me much relief. It was messy to apply and use and I feared drug reactions. I have found a botanical that I take orally that gives me some relief from the arthritis pain at the base of my thumbs. It is – Dololed. The only place I have been able to buy it is Ebay. It is made from calendula leaves.

Please feel free to add your thoughts and experiences in dealing with osteoarthritis in the comments section.


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Filed under aging, arthritis, Mayo Clinic, NSAID

How to Deal With Arthritis of the Hand – Harvard

They pour our coffee, brush our teeth and perform hundreds of other daily tasks too numerous to mention. “But aching hands transform even a simple task into a painful ordeal. Beneath the skin, your hands are an intricate architecture of tendons, joints, ligaments, nerves, and bones. Each of these structures is vulnerable to damage from illness or injury. Arthritis can make it difficult to carry a shopping bag,” according to Dr. Barry P Simmons, Medical Editor of Harvard Health Publications.

Harvard has issued a 44 page report entitled Hands. This Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, includes super-informed coverage of The Healthy Hand, Arthritis of the hand, Tendon trouble, Exercise for the hand, Carpal tunnel syndrome and other tunnel syndromes, traumatic hand and wrist injuries as well as handy gadgets. This pretty much qualifies as everything you ever wanted to know about the hand, but were afraid to ask. Harvard Medical School offers special reports on over 50 health topics. Visit their website for further reports of interest to you and your family. You can order the Hands report here.

The InfoVisual.info site uses images to explain objects.
The following is directly from the report:

The most common of all joint diseases, osteoarthritis affects cartilage, the resilient tissue that cushions the ends of your bones. Normally, cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface so the joints can move easily. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage thins and loses its elasticity. As the cartilage breaks down, the underlying bone may form a bony growth called a spur, or osteophyte. Fluid-filled cysts may form in the bone near the joint. The synovial membrane lining the joints becomes inflamed, triggering the release of proteins that may damage the cartilage further.

Approximately 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis. In addition to the hands, osteoarthritis typically strikes the knees, hips, feet, and back. The incidence rises with age, with most cases occurring in people older than 50. Heredity seems to play a role, particularly for osteoarthritis in the hands. Muscle weakness and a history of joint injuries caused by sports or accidents may also make a person more prone to a type of osteoarthritis known as traumatic arthritis. Ordinary, repetitive activities such as typing or playing a musical instrument may worsen arthritis symptoms, but they do not cause osteoarthritis of the hands.
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Filed under aging, arthritis, Harvard