A medication's effectiveness is determined by comparing its potential risks and benefits on a case-by-case basis. Medications from the Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug family are among the most effective and commonly used treatments for inflammation.
Over-the-counter drugs including ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin make up the NSAID class, which also includes the prescription COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex. There appears to be no difference in potency or efficacy of different NSAID medications, According to Clinical Evidence.
Prostaglandins are chemical messengers that induce inflammation, fever and pain. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) responsible for creating prostaglandins, thereby reducing inflammation.
Because all NSAIDs are comparable in efficacy, other attributes are used to determine which medication is best for a given situation. Aspirin is unique in that it can help reduce heart damage during a heart attack, according to WebMD.com. COX-2 inhibitors are less likely to cause gastrointestinal irritation and may be recommended for those with ulcer and other digestive disorders.
NSAIDs are effective in treating inflammation associated with menstrual cramps, sports injuries, arthritis, headache and toothache. They are also useful for reducing fever and relieving other types of minor pain caused by inflammation.
Rarely, NSAID pain relievers can cause life-threatening side effects including allergic reaction, stroke and gastrointestinal bleeding. If you experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, severe abdominal pain or throat swelling while taking an NSAID medication, seek immediate medical attention.