Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NSAIDs and Lupus

I've noticed that a lot of people have expressed interest in Celebrex and lupus. Celebrex is a member of a group of drugs called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs can be both over-the-counter (for example, Advil, Aleve, and Aspirin) or prescription (Meloxicam, Voltaren, Celebrex, and Relafin). They are usually a physician's first weapon of choice when fighting pain caused by lupus.

As their name suggests, these medications are not steroids, so they do not have the host of side-effects associated with corticosteroid treatment. That's the good news. However, NSAIDs are, in general, not as powerful as corticosteroids, and they do have side-effects of their own. These side-effects include easy bruising, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a reduced ability to heal cuts.

Prescription NSAIDs supposedly have fewer side-effects than over-the-counter NSAIDs. Note the "supposedly" in that sentence. Vioxx, for example was an NSAID similar to Celebrex that was pulled off the market when it turned out that the drug company that made it hid the fact that it increased the chance of heart attacks. So take such claims with a grain of salt, but go with whatever your doctor recommends. I, for example, am not supposed to take many over-the-counter NSAIDs because they have the potential to make me bleed because I have low platelets.

I wish I could say that Celebrex, Votaren, or Relafin works great for lupus. I can't, because none of the NSAIDs help me very much. But other lupus patients find that such medications are extremely helpful. So it depends on the patient, and the treatment plan for each patient must be discussed with a physician. Hopefully you'll find one that works for you, even though I have not.

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