Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have several contraindications that may limit or prohibit use. While many people can use NSAIDs safely and effectively for pain reduction and other conditions, certain health conditions can make the use of these drugs inadvisable and even dangerous. Some of the most common contraindications for NSAIDs include adverse drug combinations, an allergy to aspirin, age, and the existence of some health conditions. As with any type of drug, consulting with a personal physician is advised for any personal concerns.
One possible source of contraindications for NSAIDs is not the drug itself, but its interaction with other prescription medications. Any person who takes NSAIDs on a regular basis may want to inform a doctor about usage before beginning a concurrent course of another medication. Likewise, anyone planning to start taking an NSAID should consult with a doctor to ensure there are no contraindications with an existing drug regime. Anti-coagulant or blood-thinning medications are one of the most common sources of drug-based contraindications for NSAIDs.
Allergies to aspirin can cause severe and even fatal reactions to some NSAIDs, and should be ruled out before beginning usage. Indications of an allergy may include a long history of severe allergies, a family history of an aspirin allergy, or any signs of an allergic reaction to an NSAID or aspirin-containing drug. Some of the symptoms of an allergy to aspirin include skin rashes, hives, and breathing trouble. The presence of severe asthma can also indicate a possible allergy to NSAIDs. Those who are unsure about their allergy status may want to ask a doctor about possible tests before taking any type of NSAID.
NSAID use may be contraindicated depending on the age of the patient. Due to fears of severe allergic reactions, some doctors do not recommend the use of NSAIDs in any patient under 16. Elderly adults, particularly those with any history of gastrointestinal problems, are also sometimes advised to avoid NSAID usage, because of a potentially increased risk of stomach bleeding or perforation.
One of the largest categories of contraindications for NSAIDs is the pre-existence or development of some health problems. Gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease can be the source of a contraindication, as NSAIDs can raise the risk for stomach irritation and bleeding. Patients with a history of kidney problems or signs of renal failure are also usually advised to avoid this type of drug. The existence of pregnancy or current use of breastfeeding can also serve as contraindications for NSAIDs, as the presence of the drug in a mother may potentially pose risk to a fetus or breastfed infant.