Sunday, December 25, 2011

NSAID dangers

Note: As a patient, regardless of the disorder, if you are taking any
medications and or supplements for long stretches of time your doctor
should be monitoring your blood and organ function on a regular basis.
If your doctor is not doing this and is not willing to do this then it
may be time to find another doctor if you have that option. Or you may
wish to discuss other individualized treatment options.  Everything
has drawbacks/side-effects regardless of whether it is a drug, a
supplement, an artificial device, surgery or even inappropriately
applied exercise or CBT. Evaluating and re-evaluating therapies on an
individualized basis is important no matter what the therapy is.

NSAID Dangers in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
By Adrienne Dellwo, Guide

Do you take anti-inflammatories on a regular basis? A lot of people
withfibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome do. We don't know of any
special dangers we face from them, but because our conditions are
chronic, many of us take them for decades.

Because we often take medications associated with more high-profile
side effects, such as narcotics and antidepressants, it's easy to
forget that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) can be
dangerous. That goes for over-the-counter meds -- Advil, Motrin
(ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen) -- as well as prescription ones.  Here's
a story shared by a reader here:

"I took [NSAIDs] for 25 years and in 2008, they almost killed me. My
kidneys were failing and my liver enzymes were high and I had fatty
liver. For 3 months I was flat on my back and could only eat a few
bites a day and forced a few swallows of water and was in terrible
pain. .... I finally found out it was the NSAIDs and stopped taking
them and the kidneys and liver healed. Watch for any problems with the
NSAIDs." - Char
Char's story makes me really grateful for my primary doctor, who keeps
a close eye on my kidney and liver function. A couple of years ago, my
liver enzymes were really high, which put me at risk for fatty liver
and cirrhosis. That scared me! In response, I weaned off of the
prescription NSAID I'd been taking for years. When we checked a few
months later, the levels were much closer to normal.

It wasn't easy for me to go without daily NSAIDs. Fibromyalgia isn't
linked to inflammation (except for possibly in the fascia), but my
autoimmune thyroid condition is. My rheumatologist also thinks I have
a rare condition that causes my body to hold on to inflammation. (Some
cases of chronic fatigue syndrome involve inflammation, as do many of
our overlapping conditions.)

As expected, not taking NSAIDs did make me puff up. To counter that, I
increased my Omega-3 and rhodiola supplements and worked to get more
anti-inflammatory foods into my regular diet. My doctor also referred
me to massage to help me through the transition.

I do still take NSAIDs from time to time, but not on a daily basis,
and usually only when I have an injury or when my thyroid condition
flares. We're continuing to watch my levels, and so far, I'm doing
pretty well.

Of course, NSAIDs aren't the only drugs that can be hard on our liver
and kidneys. Narcotics, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, Tylenol
(acetaminophen) ... all of them can damage the liver and/or kidneys,
depending on how they are processed. Any of us who are taking
medications long term need to be aware of their impact on our overall

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