What are they?
These drugs halt the production and release of prostaglandins, hormonelike substances that lead to swelling and help transmit pain to the brain. They work best for mild to moderate pain accompanied by swelling.

Active Ingredients (Common Brands) – Prescription
Indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen), sulindac (Clinoril), flurbiprofen (Ansaid), and others

Active Ingredients (Common Brands) – Nonprescription
Ibuprofen (Advil), ketoprofen (Orudis KT), and naproxen (Aleve)

Common Side Effects
Abdominal or stomach cramps, diarrhea, drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, headache, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and high blood pressure. Since gastrointestinal damage from NSAIDs can occur at any point, short-term use isn’t necessarily safer. In fact, long-term use may actually allow gastric mucous membranes to adapt, reducing the chance of stomach problems.

Safe Use
Never mix NSAIDs with the cancer medication methotrexate (Mexate), which is sometimes prescribed to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. This combination can be fatal.

Hidden Benefits
May offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease and colorectal cancer.

Not Recommended For
People with gastrointestinal, liver or kidney problems or those taking medication for high blood pressure. NSAIDs should not be combined with alcohol, because they can increase stomach bleeding, or with diuretics, because they can cause an increased risk of kidney failure, especially in seniors.

Special Hints
Take with full 8-ounce glass of water. To avoid irritation after swallowing, remain uptight for 15 to 30 minutes after taking it.