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Anti-inflammatory refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs make up one half of analgesics, remedying pain by reducing inflammation as opposed to opioids which affect the brain.
Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), alleviate pain by counteracting the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme. On its own COX enzyme synthesizes prostaglandins, creating inflammation. In whole the NSAIDs prevent the prostaglandins from ever being synthesized, reducing or eliminating the pain.
In addition to medical drugs, many herbs have anti-inflammatory qualities, including hyssop, ginger, Arnica montana which contains helenalin, a sesquiterpene lactone, and willow bark, which contains salicylic acid, a substance related to the active ingredient in aspirin.
On the other hand, there are analgesics like paracetamol, called acetaminophen in the U.S. and sold under the brand name of Tylenol, which are commonly associated with anti-inflammatory drugs but which have no anti-inflammatory effects.
Some are concerned about the long term usage of NSAIDs as they cause gastric erosions which can become stomach ulcers and in extreme cases result in death. The risk of death as a result of use of NSAIDs is 1 in 10,000 for young adults aged 16-45. The risk increases tenfold for those over 75.
- Analgesic drugs
Major Drug Groups
|Gastrointestinal tract (A)|
|Blood and blood forming organs (B)||
Anticoagulants • Antiplatelets • Thrombolytics
|Cardiovascular system (C)|
|Reproductive system (G)|
|Endocrine system (H)|
|Infections and Infestations (J, P)|
|Malignant and Immune disease (L)|
|Muscles, Bones, and Joints (M)|
|Brain and Nervous system (N)|
|Respiratory system (R)|
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