NSAID prescribing precautions.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used, but have risks associated with their use, including significant upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding. Older persons, persons taking anticoagulants, and persons with a history of upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding associated with NSAIDs are at especially high risk. Although aspirin is cardioprotective, other NSAIDs can worsen congestive heart failure, can increase blood pressure, and are related to adverse cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction and ischemia. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors have been associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction; however, the only cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor still available in the United States, celecoxib, seems to be safer in this regard. Hepatic damage from NSAIDs is rare, but these medications should not be used in persons with cirrhotic liver diseases because bleeding problems and renal failure are more likely. Care should be used when prescribing NSAIDs in persons taking anticoagulants and in those with platelet dysfunction, as well as immediately before surgery. Potential central nervous system effects include aseptic meningitis, psychosis, and tinnitus. Asthma may be induced or exacerbated by NSAIDs. Although most NSAIDs are likely safe in pregnancy, they should be avoided in the last six to eight weeks of pregnancy to prevent prolonged gestation from inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, premature closure of the ductus arteriosus, and maternal and fetal complications from antiplatelet activity. Ibuprofen, indomethacin, and naproxen are safe in breastfeeding women. Care should be taken to prevent accidental NSAID overdose in children by educating parents about correct dosing and storage in childproof containers.
NSAID prescribing precautions. Am Fam Physician. 2009 Dec 15;80(12):1371-8. PMID: 20000300.