Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce joint pain and inflammation. They do not prevent joint damage, but they can relieve pain and stiffness and improve joint function.

There are many NSAIDs available. NSAIDs commonly used for AS include:

  • celecoxib (Celebrex®, generics)
  • diclofenac (Voltaren®, generics)
  • ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, generics)
  • indomethacin (generics)
  • meloxicam (Mobic®, generics)
  • naproxen (Naprosyn®, generics)
  • What does it do? The way NSAIDs work is not completely understood, but it is believed to be involved in blocking chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.
  • How do I use it? Depending on the type of NSAID medication, they are usually taken each day, when required, in divided doses.

Common side effects associated with NSAIDs can include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, dizziness, headache, and abdominal pain. Other side effects can include ringing in the ears, fluid retention, skin rash, and increases in blood pressure. Serious side effects include ulcers, stomach bleeding, heart problems (including increased risk of heart attack or stroke), and kidney problems.

Many of the gastrointestinal side effects can be minimized by taking them with food or adding another medication to help protect the stomach lining. Let your doctor know if you have kidney or liver problems, blood disorders, heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma, or diabetes.

Talk to your doctor for more information on treating AS with NSAIDs.