NSAIDs for musculoskeletal pain management:current perspectives and novel strategies to improve safety.

James W. Atchison*, Christopher M. Herndon, Erica Rusie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Musculoskeletal disorders are a growing burden on the health care system in the United States. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to assist in the management of mild-to moderate musculoskeletal pain. After the withdrawal of rofecoxib because of cardiovascular toxicity, the safety of these agents became a topic of controversy and confusion. Recent evidence is facilitating a better understanding of the risks and mechanisms by which NSAIDs cause injury. In an effort to raise awareness, this review addresses the current challenges, recent progress, and novel strategies for improving tolerability. With new data to help guide decision making and the anticipated increase in pharmacological options for managing musculoskeletal pain, the role of the managed care professional is particularly important in this evolving field. To review recommendations for the appropriate use of NSAIDs, incorporate risk/benefit analysis into decision making, and evaluate the efficacy and safety of recently approved and emerging NSAID formulations. Musculoskeletal-related conditions are a major public health burden. NSAIDs are among the most commonly used medications for musculoskeletal conditions. Since the introduction of selective cyclooxygenease-2 (COX-2) inhibitors (or coxibs), there has been ongoing discussion and debate about the safety of all NSAIDs. Current available evidence suggests both traditional NSAIDs and coxibs increase the risk of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular toxicity; however, with proper risk assessment, these dangers can be limited. Moreover, new and emerging NSAID formulations and delivery systems aim to enhance the effectiveness and reduce the toxicity associated with these anti-inflammatory agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S3-19
JournalJournal of managed care pharmacy : JMCP
Issue number9 Suppl A
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Health Policy


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