For the millions of people who suffer from arthritis and other chronic conditions that cause constant pain or soreness, it seems like whatever over-the-counter pain reliever we choose comes with potential dangers. Just recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration strengthened its warnings on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and their link to strokes and heart attacks. NSAIDs include popular over-the-counter pain relievers like Aleve and Advil as well as prescription medications known as COX-2 inhibitors that are taken for arthritis.
The potential risks of NSAIDs to the heart have been noted before. They've also been linked to gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, kidney problems and increased blood pressure. All of these risks can increase if someone takes them over a long period of time or uses more than the recommended dosage. However, many people still choose them over other pain relievers because they have the added benefit of reducing inflammation.