NSAIDs and stomach damage

Many active folks have little ouchies from time to time. “Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories” is the most commonly prescribed athletic trifecta. But be cautious: NSAID, or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are not harmless. Indeed, they often come with quite significant side effects, particularly to the gastrointestinal tract.

An overview from Johns Hopkins describes some of the problems.

Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), and ketoprofen (Orudis) cause stomach upset, bleeding in the digestive tract, and ulcers in some people.

NSAIDs have these effects because they disable the stomach’s protective mechanisms that shield it from the acidic juices used to digest foods. Older people are most at risk for these NSAID-related stomach problems, since the protective mechanisms operate less well with age. NSAIDs can also cause bleeding in other parts of the body, because they inhibit the blood’s ability to clot..