NSAIDs - A Real Health Risk


NSAID - Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are used for analgesic (pain reducing) and anti-pyretic (fever reducing) properties. NSAIDs comprise a large class of drugs with many different options. In addition to aspirin, there are currently several types of both non-prescription (over-the-counter) NSAIDs and prescription brands of NSAIDs. The three types of NSAIDs most commonly used to treat many types of pain include:
- Ibuprofen (e.g. brand names Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- Naproxen (e.g. brand names Aleve, Naprosyn)
- COX-2 inhibitors (e.g. brand name Celebrex)

People all over the world pop these over the counter pills to reduce pain and fever, however; without knowing their very real side effects.

Cartilage Damage
NSAIDs are also referred as safe drugs for people suffering from arthritis but innocent people popping these pill are unaware about the real health risks associated with them. Most people are unaware about the fact that NSAIDs enhance the destruction of cartilage and also inhibit formation of new cartilage. It is an irony that people taking these pills to reduce their signs and symptoms of arthritis are actually contributing to the progression of their sufferings.

Research done on animal tissues in laboratories has found that NSAIDs actually slowed the healing of injured muscles, tendons, ligament, and bones. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, substances that are involved in pain and also in the creation of collagen. Less prostaglandin means less production of collagen. Thus, it actually inhibits the healing of tissues and bone injuries.

The Encyclopaedia of Medical Breakthroughs and Forbidden Treatments states: “In 1979, physicians in Norway made X-ray evaluations of the hips of 58 patients taking Indicin (indomethacin). Patients taking the NSAID experienced significantly more rapid destruction of the hip than the control group taking no NSAIDs. Studies with aspirin and other NSAIDs have repeated these results.”

Kidney Damage
According to Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland - Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are capable of inducing a variety of renal function abnormalities, particularly in high-risk patients with decreased renal blood perfusion who depend on prostaglandin synthesis to maintain normal renal function. Fluid retention is the most common NSAID-related renal complication, occurring to some degree in virtually all exposed individuals.

The ability to excrete a salt load (salt load being what we take in nutritionally on a daily basis) is dependent on prostaglandin integrity -- that is, the homeostatic pathway for prostaglandin production should be intact. And therein, a natriuretic environment emerges, and salt handling is correctly managed by the body.

“We see a range of changes in renal function and electrolytes owing to a drop in prostaglandin (PG) production as a consequence of the NSAID. In particular, PGI-2 and PGE-2 decrease in quantity in temporal fashion in relationship to the NSAID. PGI-2, in particular, is important to the stimulation and therein release of renin and thereafter aldosterone such that patients receiving a NSAID -- and it takes no more than just a couple of doses -- become hyper-reninemic and hypoaldosteronemic. In so doing, an important homeostatic pathway for control of potassium, that is aldosterone, is negated in its action” Dr. Domenic Sica, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Chairman, Section of Clinical Pharmacology and Hypertension, Division of Nephrology, at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Hypertension
Salt and water retention can be accompanied by specific changes in blood pressure, particularly in those people who have salt-sensitive forms of hypertension, such as the older individual, the diabetic, or the patient with borderline changes in renal function. The rises in blood pressure that occur as a consequence of the change in body weight owing to fluid retention can be dramatic, as much as 20 to 40 mm [Hg] systolic.

Heart Disease
According to investigative medical journalists at Medical Research Associates “The researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia have discovered that NSAID use is a significant contributor to congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF is failure of the heart muscle including its ability to maintain adequate blood circulation throughout the body or to pump out the venous blood as it returns to the heart.”

A team of Danish researchers followed the health of almost 100,000 people who had a first heart attack for five years. During this time, almost half of them were prescribed an NSAID at least once. After one year, those who used an NSAID were about 60% more likely to have died during each year of the study than those who didn’t use an NSAID.

Hearing Loss
According to another study by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), women who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen for two or more days per week had an increased risk of hearing loss. Women who took these drugs too often are at a very high risk for hearing loss. “Possible mechanisms might be that NSAIDs may reduce blood flow to the cochlea — the hearing organ — and impair its function,” said first study author Sharon G. Curhan of BWH’s Channing Division of Network Medicine. “Acetaminophen may deplete factors that protect the cochlea from damage.”

Gastrointestinal Mucosa
NSAIDS like aspirin, naproxen and many others commonly causes damage to gastro duodenal mucosa, which leads to stomach ulcers and erosions. Recent figures indicate that close to two-thirds of NSAID users suffer from small intestine enteropathy. Frequent usage of the NSAIDS and other medications continues to wreak havoc and cause further damage to the mucosal wall barrier.

There is enough research now available which reveals the serious health risk associated with regular intake of NSAIDS. Just because they are easily available and can be taken for any acute inflammation does not mean that you can take them whenever you want with no consequences.