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NSAID treatment is usually the starting point for treating Ankylosing Spondylitis. They help reduce the pain and stiffness that is caused due to inflammation.
Here are 4 points to help you discuss your NSAID therapy with your Rheumatologist:
Form: NSAIDs are available as tablets, capsules, liquid suspensions, gels or topical creams.
Correct dose: Dosing will depend on the type of NSAID prescribed. This is especially important when you are consuming an oral NSAID. Some NSAIDs are ‘sustained release’ or ‘slow release’ i.e. they need to be taken only once a day. Your rheumatologist will guide you about the right dose. These drugs start working quickly and you will experience symptom relief within a few hours.
Expected outcomes: Discuss what outcomes you can expect; for example – pain relief, reduced stiffness, etc. Some studies have shown that NSAIDs can also prevent progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis, but the data on it is still inconclusive.
Continuity: NSAIDs are effective to manage symptoms and can be taken safely except in certain conditions like kidney disorders. Some people may experience symptoms like stomach upsets or heart burns if NSAIDs are taken over long periods.
Discuss the risks and benefits of NSAID treatment with your Rheumatologist before initiation. If you are already on NSAIDs and you feel they are not helping, your Rheumatologist may suggest other medications like DMARDs/biologics.
van der Heijde D, et al. Ann Rheum Dis 2017;0:1–14
NAAS. NSAIDs. Available [Online] at: https://nass.co.uk/managing-my-as/medication/nsaids/ Accessed on 26 June 2020
Mayo Clinic. Ankylosing Spondylitis. Available [Online] at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ankylosing-spondylitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354813 Accessed on 26 June 2020