In brief: NSAIDs side effects

In brief

NSAIDs side effects

Published: March, 2014

The side effects of rofecoxib (Vioxx) and the other COX-2 drugs have been in the headlines so much lately that it's easy to forget that ibuprofen (Motrin, other brands), naproxen (Aleve, other brands), and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have risks, too. Findings from the Nurses' Health Study published early in 2005 showed that regular use of high doses (400mg or more per day) of NSAIDs (with the notable exception of aspirin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) increases the risk for high blood pressure. (Acetaminophen is not an NSAID.) A study of Dutch men published in July 2005 showed that current NSAID users have a twofold higher risk of developing a sudden inability to urinate (acute urinary retention).

We could go on and list other studies and side effects, but the overall message would be the same: NSAIDs are powerful medications, capable of doing a lot of good but they also carry significant risks.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »