Anti-inflammatory drugs

March 2017


Definition


Anti-inflammatory drugs help fight inflammation.
There are two major types of anti-inflammatory drugs:
  • anti-inflammatory steroids (derivatives of cortisol and cortisone):
    • with short-term effects: including prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone,
    • with intermediate effects,
    • with long-term effects : betamethasone, dexamethasone and others;
  • anti-inflammatory drugs, including the most famous: aspirin.

Indications and uses


Anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids have many medical indications and uses, the most important being:
  • in cases of severe inflammation, especially in chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and some severe allergies;
  • immunosuppressive action, which reduces the efficiency of the body's defense against aggression, useful for illnesses of body systems or following an organ transplant to limit rejection by the organism;
  • in addition to certain chemotherapy treatments.

Side effects


Anti-inflammatory drugs are effective, but are not without side effects. The main ones are:
  • skin reactions (skin deterioration or the appearance of acne...);
  • weight gain;
  • higher risk of infections due to a decreased immunity risk;
  • problems with vision (or even the development of cataracts after taking the drugs for several months or years);
  • new or worsening diabetic condition;
  • digestive problems (including ulcers);
  • the appearance or increasing of hypertension;
  • weakening of the bones (osteoporosis);
  • psychiatric problems (hyperarousal and depression) ...

Due to the violent reactions that can be triggered by anti-inflammatory drugs, they must be prescribed by a doctor.

Precautions


Anti-inflammatory drugs should be taken under medical prescription and the patient should follow a few simple rules and precautions. A long-term treatment requires increased surveillance.
  • It is necessary to stick to a low sodium diet and to sometimes take a potassium supplement.
  • When taking anti-inflammatory drugs in the long term, prevent bone loss by taking supplements of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Remain vigilant in case of fever or suspected infection, as anti-inflammatory drugs may cover up fever.
  • If you need to stop the steroid treatment, don't stop immediately, but rather cut the medication out little by little.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff.
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