Are You an NSAID Addict? What Can You Do?

You’re getting older and you can’t hit the gym or get through that ski vacation without popping some Motrin or Aleve. Or maybe your doctor put you on Celebrex or Mobic to help the pain you have in several joints? Did you know that these drugs, called NSAIDs are dangerous to your health?

NSAID stands for Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug, which is a common over the counter or prescription medication for pain and inflammation. In fact, these drugs are prescribed or recommended to tens of millions of patients a year. One of the problems we see is the phenomenon of an “NSAID addict”; someone who begins to take the drugs to allow better function with exercise, but who then gets addicted, being unable to stop without feeling like a truck ran over them.

NSAIDs include brand names like Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn, Indocin, Celebrex, Mobic, Voltaren, and DayPro as well as generic chemical names like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Indomethacin, Celecoxib, Meloxicam, Diclofenac, and Oxaprozin. For a more complete list, see this link. They act by blocking an inflammatory enzyme called cyclooxygenase. This is also a side effect laden and dangerous drug class.

Some of the more common NSAID side effects that patients would recognize include stomach bleeding from an ulcer and kidney impairment. However, most patients don’t know that NSAID drugs have serious cardiac side effects. In fact, they all raise your risk of dying from a sudden death heart attack by about 200-400%!

So you’re on these dangerous drugs for the aches and pains of aging and you can’t stop, because if you do you feel really bad. What can you do?

1. Get off the sugar! No single dietary change is more likely to help you reduce your whole body inflammation. See Dr. Pitts’ book on Nutrition 2.0 to help guide you.

2. Start high dose fish oil. Studies have shown success in getting low back pain patients off NSAIDs with fish oil. THIS IS NOT THAT BIG BOTTLE YOU BUY AT THE SUPERMARKET! You’ll need a bottle of highly concentrated fish oil that has been converted back to it’s natural triglyceride form after concentration. How much should you take? Look for the EPA mg number on the bottle. You should be taking between 2,000-4,000 mg of EPA twice a day (less for smaller patients and more for larger). I personally take this brand right now.

3. Add in a multi anti-inflammatory strategy. Our Regenexx Stem Cell Support formula has many ingredients that support healthy levels of inflammation including resveratrol, glucosamine, chondroitin, curcumin, and bitter melon. This dose is one capful each morning.

4. If those three don’t get you off NSAIDs, then consider adding in more curcumin. We’ve designed this Regenexx brand Tumeric/Curcumin complex to maximize it’s anti-inflammatory potential. This is 1-2 caps in the am and 1-2 in the pm.

5. If specific joint pain breaks through your anti-inflammatory regimen, then read our book RegenexxProActive-which will help you decide if you should proactively be using regenerative medicine techniques to treat that area. 

The upshot? Becoming an NSAID addict is bad news. NSAIDs are dangerous to your health, which is why the American Heart Association has started a campaign to educate physicians to either not prescribe them or to reduce their use. Getting “off the sauce” may just save your life!

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.