Drug Action: How NSAIDs Work

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to treat a variety of conditions, including inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The inflammatory response is triggered by substances called prostaglandins, which are released when tissue is damaged. NSAIDs reduce inflammation by blocking the production of prostaglandins.

Before drug

Prostaglandins are released in damaged tissue, causing the blood vessels to widen and leak fluid. White cells move into the tissue. The area becomes red and swollen.

After drug

NSAIDs limit the release of prostaglandins, thereby reducing the inflammation. The leaky blood vessels return to normal, and swelling and redness subside.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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