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NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medications that can be used to treat the pain and inflammation of RA. NSAIDs do not control the disease, they only treat symptoms. Therefore, they are taken on an as-needed basis.

Your doctor may recommend an NSAID to reduce joint swelling and relieve pain, tenderness and stiffness. You may start to experience benefits within a few weeks.

There are many NSAIDs available, including prescription and non-prescription types. All NSAIDs have an anti-inflammatory effect. Each person reacts differently to different drugs, so you may find that one NSAID brings you more relief than another.

The most common side effects associated with NSAID use are indigestion, heartburn, stomach and abdominal pain. They can also alter the protective lining of the stomach and gut, making you susceptible to ulcers and bleeding, so you should avoid taking more than two different kinds of NSAIDs together. COX-2 inhibitors are custom-designed types of NSAIDs that minimize the risk of ulcers and bleeding. People with heart disease, or a history of stroke or chest pain, should not take NSAIDs. Discuss the use of NSAIDs with your doctor if you have kidney, stomach or heart problems.