Recent Blog Articles


NSAIDs: topicals vs. pills for pain

January 01, 2013





Photo: Thinkstock

Topicals aren't as popular, but they can be very effective.

Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a common fix when you're suffering from osteoarthritis of the knees or hands. But applying NSAIDs directly to the skin (topically) can bring weeks of pain relief, and without the risks of oral NSAIDs, according to a new review by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international research organization. "Topical NSAIDs are an excellent choice for a lot of people, especially those who are at high risk of complications from oral medications," says Dr. Eric Berkson, director of the Sports Performance Center at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • 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
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.