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List of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

By Leigh A. Zaykoski ; Updated August 14, 2017

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to treat inflammation caused by injuries and chronic pain conditions. While these drugs are effective at suppressing the body's inflammatory response, there are several undesirable side effects that make it necessary to use NSAIDs with caution. Follow all instructions carefully to avoid serious adverse effects.


Ibuprofen is used to treat fever, menstrual cramps, inflammatory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and mild to moderate pain caused by injuries. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ibuprofen is also being tested for the treatment of migraines, gout, cystic fibrosis and ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine). Possible side effects of ibuprofen include dizziness, gastrointestinal bleeding, headache, swelling, nervousness, itching, ringing in the ears, rash, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, heartburn, loss of appetite and stomach pain.


Prescription ketoprofen is an NSAID used to treat pain, stiffness, swelling and tenderness caused by menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Nonprescription ketoprofen is used to treat minor headaches, toothaches, fever and aches caused by the common cold. The National Institutes of Health indicates that ketoprofen side effects can include diarrhea, mouth sores, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, insomnia, ringing in the ears, constipation and nervousness. If side effects are severe or persistent, they should be reported to a medical professional.


Naproxen is a prescription NSAID used to treat mild to moderate pain caused by arthritis, gout, menstrual cramps and bursitis. This drug can cause some side effects that need medical attention and some that don't. Naproxen side effects that do not require medical attention include ringing in the ears, flatulence, stomach discomfort, dry eyes, sleeplessness, swollen joints and drowsiness. Naproxen side effects that require medical attention include difficult breathing, shortness of breath, pain below the breastbone, stomach pain, wheezing and swelling.


Aspirin is approved for use in the treatment of pain, stroke, heart attacks and arthritis. This drug contains salicylic acid, so it should not be used in children and teens. Salicylate use in children has been linked to the development of Reye's syndrome, a serious medical condition that leads to damage of the liver and brain. Aspirin works to relieve pain by blocking the production of local hormones (prostaglandins) that cause pain and inflammation. This drug is used to treat and prevent heart attacks and strokes because it acts as a blood thinner and prevents blood clots. The University of Washington cites heartburn, nausea, indigestion and stomach irritation as the most common side effects of aspirin. More serious side effects include stomach ulcers.


Celecoxib is a prescription NSAID used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. This drug is also prescribed as a treatment for painful menstrual periods and colon polyps. Celecoxib works by blocking COX-2, a chemical that produces inflammation and pain. Common side effects of celecoxib include gas, sore throat, bloating, diarrhea and cold symptoms. More serious side effects—such as upset stomach, fatigue, loss of appetite and allergic reaction—should be reported to a medical professional.


Indomethacin is an NSAID used to treat arthritis, rheumatoid disorders, bursitis, tendinitis, gout and moderate pain. This drug should be used with caution in people who have high blood pressure, decreased kidney function and congestive heart failure. Due to the increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding when taking NSAIDs, anyone with a history of gastrointestinal bleeding or ulcers should use this drug with caution. Side effects of indomethacin include headache, drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, ulcers and ringing in the ears.

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