NSAIDs: The Dangerous Side of Profitable Pharmaceutical Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs, typically have analgesic (pain-reducing), antipyretic (fever-reducing) and, in higher doses, anti-inflammatory effects. In other words, they reduce pain, fever, and inflammation.

Some of the most popular, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are available over the counter without a prescription. Paracetamol (Tylenol) is not usually considered in this group, even though it has antipyretic and analgesic properties.

There are also COX-2 selective inhibitors in this group of drugs, such as Celebrex (generic name celecoxib). Vioxx and Bextra are also COX-2 selective inhibitors, but they were removed from the market after the deaths of thousands of people were attributed to their use.

NSAIDs Are Widely Prescribed

According to a 1993 study, over 70 million prescriptions are written annually for anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).¹ That translates approximately to one prescription for every 3 to 4 people living at that time in the United States, using 1990 census data.

Those prescriptions are for pharmaceutical drugs which are typically toxic to the human body and are aimed at managing symptoms and pain, rather than healing and restoring health. There is a big difference.

Globally, pain management drugs cost approximately US$30 billion annually.² Think of the cost this is to patients. And ponder the profits this means to the pharmaceutical industry.

You might ask,

"What does all this mean to me?"

Good question.

Consider these numbers carefully :

  • Over 5 percent of people who use NSAIDs in the U.S. develop serious bleeding conditions each year.
  • Of those, over 100,000 require hospitalization.³
  • 16,500 people die every year in the U.S. alone due to long-term use.⁴

These people die of internal bleeding caused by their pain medication. The saddest thing is that it's avoidable.

The statistics may vary from country to country, but the lesson is clear for all of us:

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Are Dangerous.

Not only are they dangerous, but they are also expensive. Trying to undo the damage they cause is expensive, too. Each year, estimated medical costs of NSAID-related gastrointestinal complications add up to over US$3.9 billion.⁵ (And much of the treatment of these complications is just more pharmaceuticals with more side effects!)

NSAID use accounts for one-third the total cost of treating arthritis.⁶

Some calculate that the number of Americans killed by Vioxx exceeds the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq put together!⁷ (2015 update: This number has been calculated by some to be well over 500,000 deaths. See article here.)

This type of drug causes gastro-intestinal bleeding, which can lead to death. The American College of Gastroenterology declares, "An individual can develop damage to the intestinal lining without being aware of it—significant GI bleeding occurs frequently without any symptoms being present." You can be bleeding to death and not even know it!

NSAIDs can also decrease kidney functioning, as well as increase the risk of heart failure by 100%!⁸ This certainly seems to be a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

These drugs carry additional dangers for pregnant women. Using even a small quantity of non-aspirin NSAIDs during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy raises the risk of miscarriage significantly. (It's possible that the risk continues into later pregnancy, but the study we've read only looked at women up to their twentieth week.) Their use in pregnancy is also linked to serious birth defects.

But when suffering a lot of pain, most people become willing to do almost anything to find relief.

This makes it imperative to ask the question:

What Are Our Options?

Is it really necessary that so many die from these dangerous and toxic pharmaceutical medications?

The answer is a clear and resounding no.

It's not necessary! We do have options and alternatives.

  • Scientists have found natural alternatives to NSAIDs. Read about some of them in "Natural Anti-inflammatory 100 Times More Potent than Fish Oil, Study Concludes".
  • We will be posting a review here of a very encouraging book written by arthritis survivor and overcomer Margie Garrison. She suffered arthritis pain for many years, at times taking up to 26 aspirins a day, at other times a minimum of 12 Darvon daily, often with aspirin as well. Margie Garrison is now arthritis-free without medicine! In her book you'll read about her wonderful healing and discover how she did it with simple natural methods. (By the way, the method she used to heal herself is not expensive or complicated. Isn’t that good news?)
  • There is a lot of scientific literature regarding the ability of high doses of vitamin C to help reduce inflammation. There is also an anti-inflammatory diet, using the healing and strengthening capabilities of certain foods to stimulate the immune system.
  • And then there's the very best one we have found so far: green-lipped mussel oil, packaged with a deep-sea cold water fish oil and topped off with one of the most powerful anti-oxidants discovered so far, grapeseed extract.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter at the top of every page of this site or subscribe to our RSS feed or both, so you won't miss these important posts.

Dangers of NSAIDs to dogs.

Man's best friend deserves the best.
(Courtesy of Gustavo Bueso Padgett,
San Pedro Sula, Cortes, Honduras)

Note to pet owners: You should also be aware that similar dangers exist when anti-inflammatory drugs are given to your dogs and other pets. At www.dogsadversereactions.com you can get a good idea of how often pets die from using these drugs. [Editors note: Unfortunately, the site dosgadversereactions.com has been taken down from the web. We are inquiring to see what has happened. Hopefully, the site will be back up and running soon. You can still see what was on the site by visiting the WayBackMachine here if you're interested.]

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References for NSAIDs page

1. Gabriel SE, Jaakkimainen RL, Bombardier C. The cost-effectiveness of misoprostol for nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug-associated adverse gastrointestinal events. Arthritis Rheum. 1993; 36:447-59

2. Pain Management: World Prescription Drug Markets, PJB Publications USA Inc., April 2003

3. Van Dieten et al, 2000

4. American Gastroenterological Association http://www.gastro.org/wmspage.cfm?parm1=1831

5. De Pouvourville, 1995

6. Bloom, BS, Am J Med. 1988; 84:20-4.

7. http://www.naturalnews.com/011401.html

8. http://www.naturalnews.com/020259.html

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