NSAID is an acronym for “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.” This type of medication can decrease pain and inflammatio. NSAIDs have long been used to treat various kinds of arthritis and other painful conditions.
There are two enzymes (body chemicals) that these medications can block: COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 protects the stomach from ulcers, and COX-2 is a protein that, among other things, causes joint inflammation. COX-2 inhibitors are NSAIDs designed to focus on the blockage of the COX-2 enzyme. COX-2 inhibitor drugs are called “selective inhibitors” because they only block the COX-2 protein and not COX-1.
Both selective and nonselective NSAIDs can help with pain and inflammation, but side effects such as stomach upset or ankle swelling can be problems, and cardiovascular side effects have been described.