nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
Aspirin is technically an NSAID, but the term is often used to refer to nonaspirin products. The first nonaspirin NSAIDs were introduced in 1964. Common NSAID products include diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), indomethacin (Indocin), ketorolac (Acular, Toradol), and piroxicam (Feldene). Ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen are available as over-the-counter drugs in the United States. The cox-2 inhibitors, such as celecoxib (Celebrex), selectively inhibit clooxygenase-2 (cox-2), an enzyme that causes pain and inflammation in arthritic joints, but do not interfere with cox-1, which protects the stomach and intestinal lining from ulceration. Very common drugs, NSAIDs are taken daily by an estimated 3 million Americans.
Although they are often considered easier to tolerate than aspirin, and most do not have as strong an anticlotting effect as aspirin, NSAIDS can have serious side effects, particularly gastrointestinal ulcers and upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding and perforation in those who take the drugs on a regular basis. NSAID-related gastropathy results in more than 2,000 deaths in the United States each year.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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