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Difference Between NSAIDS and Steroids

NSAIDS vs Steroids

Medications have gone far and become complex as to how and what they work for. There are drugs that are used directly to treat simple illnesses and conditions, and there are also some that work synergistically with others to achieve a desired effect.

Two anti-inflammatory medications that are available on the market and are widely used in medicine are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) and steroids. Both counteract the effects of inherent chemicals in the body called prostaglandins which promote inflammation, fever, and pain. Prostaglandins also serve different purposes in the body.

NSAIDS decrease the result of prostaglandin release in the body. These medications also contain antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties in one drug. It is used to treat cases of mild to moderate pain as a result of surgery or other inflammation-inflicting illnesses. NSAIDS are also used as generalized symptom treatment ranging from arthritis, headache, fever, and gout. This classification is divided into groups, such as: COX-1 and COX-2 and selective COX-2 inhibitors which act on targeted sites accordingly. Aspirin, which is a widely used NSAID, is acclaimed because of its capability to inhibit platelet aggregation for a longer period of time as compared to other NSAIDS. It is important to determine contraindications with other drugs such as diuretics and Warfarin to prevent the reduction of therapeutic effects and other untoward effects.

Meanwhile, steroids cover a more diverse classification. These may come from animal, plant, and human sources. In humans, steroid use is based on a vertebrate’s source and may constitute sex steroids, corticosteroids, and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids are steroid hormones that are inherent to the body. It acts on various systems such as inflammation, stress response, immune response, metabolism, and electrolyte levels. On the basis of inflammation, corticosteroids fall under glucocorticoids that are a product of the hormone cortisol. Corticosteroids are used in a variety of conditions ranging from skin diseases to hormonal insufficiencies and tumors. It is also primarily used in the treatment of joint pain and inflammation. Steroids have narcotic effects and may become very addicting on the part of the user.

NSAIDS may yield minor side effects such as the usual nausea and vomiting or allergic reactions at the worst. Meanwhile, steroids are known to produce severe side effects, such as immunosupression, hypertension, and erectile dysfunction.


1.NSAIDS and steroids both have anti-inflammatory properties.

2.NSAIDS have less narcotic properties compared to steroids.

3.NSAIDS have less serious side effects compared to steroids.

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