NSAIDs for Osteoarthritis : the good, the bad and the dangerous!

NSAIDs for Osteoarthritis

NSAIDS for osteoarthritis, in my opinion, is dangerous due to the risks of long term use.

I find it amazing with all the bad publicity NSAIDs for osteoarthritis are getting why research like this is being done. How can they be allowed to give a drug to people which is KNOWN already to have serious side effects when taken in the long term?

This study was recently published about using NSAIDs for osteoarthritis in the knee. The researchers suggest that NSAIDs should be used long term to get benefit.

This is what they said

“Long-term, but not short-term, NSAID use was associated with an a priori-defined minimally important clinical change in stiffness, physical function, and joint space width, but not pain,” the authors write.

So you will feel less stiff and improve your function and look prettier on X-ray but won’t suffer any less pain!

Obviously these researchers don’t have OA as hello- the pain that is the worst thing!

What these researchers don’t seem to realise you could have done all that with a sensible home based exercise programme and without the dangers of long term use of NSAIDs for osteoarthritis!

The Most Common Danger of Taking NSAIDs for Osteoarthritis

When you take NSAIDs for osteoarthritis you do take them in the long term. The most common danger is having a GI ‘event”. These can range from dyspepsia, nausea, and vomiting to complicated events such as hemorrhage or perforated ulcers.

A recent European study found 19 in 100 people had a GI event and that about 1 in 100 would have a serious event. That’s a lot of people when you consider how many millions of people have osteoarthritis!

What are the Alternatives to NSAIDs?

Many Doctors also prescribe what they call simple paracetamol for the pain. However this research say physicians may have underestimated the long term risks of taking that.

Drug Discovery and Development reported the following this month:

A UK team of researchers, led by Professor Philip Conaghan of the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, set out to conduct a systematic review of existing studies that had assessed the association between chronic use of paracetamol and major adverse events in the general adult population.

Professor Conaghan, who is based at Chapel Allerton Hospital, said: “We think this study shows that the adverse health risks of taking paracetamol on a long-term basis are underestimated, particularly in relation to increased risk of heart, gastrointestinal and kidney problems.

What are the Alternative to Taking Drugs for Osteoarthritis?

There are lots of natural treatments you can try rather than using NSAIDs for osteoarthritis (or any other drug for that matter.  These include:

  • Rest
  • Activity
  • Joint protection
  • Weight loss
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Supplements
  • Physical therapy

Please click here for more detail on all of these alternatives to NSAIDs for osteoarthritis.

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