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Anti-Inflammatories

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs)

Anti-inflammatories are drugs that are used to reduce swelling and inflammation. You may have heard of drugs called “NSAIDs,” or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, used for joint pain, arthritis, or even dental pain.

Steroids

Different types of anti-inflammatories – the kind with steroids – are used to reduce inflammation in the airways or lungs, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. These anti-inflammatory drugs can make it easier to breathe.

The anti-inflammatories used for lung conditions are often called “corticosteroids.” They are also used to treat severe allergies or skin conditions, arthritis, certain types of cancer (such as amyloidosis), and blood diseases like immune thrombocytopenia. These drugs are not the same as the illegal steroids used to build muscles.

Steroid medicines are usually inhaled with an inhaler. Having the drug delivered directly to the lungs lets you take a lower dose, while still getting the benefit. Steroids can also be taken in pill form at a higher dose than inhaled steroids.

Some patients have side effects from inhaled steroids:

  • Bruising
  • Oral infections
  • Hoarseness

Side effects from oral steroids can be more serious due to the larger dose. They can include:

  • Bruising
  • Cataracts
  • Weight gain
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
  • Swelling in the ankles or feet

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