Anti-inflammatories, non-steroidal - Alternatives to NSAIDs

If you have been advised not to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a number of alternative treatments can be used.

Alternatives for some of the most common conditions treated with NSAIDs are listed below.


If you need medication to treat pain, paracetamol can be used in almost all cases. An exception to this would be in cases of severe liver disease where lower doses must be used because paracetamol in full doses can damage the liver.

You should seek advice from a pain specialist before taking painkillers other than NSAIDs, paracetamol or aspirin.

There are also a number of non-drug-based treatments for pain, such as:


If you have gout, a medication called colchicine, or oral steroids are an effective alternative to using an NSAID.


Alternative treatments for osteoarthritis include:

Rheumatoid arthritis

Alternative treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • codeine ‐ a mild opiate-based painkiller
  • oral corticosteroids are occasionally used
  • corticosteroid injections‐ these help to reduce the symptoms of pain and swelling
  • disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) ‐ a type of medication that can help to ease symptoms and slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis
  • biological treatments ‐ newer medications such as TNF-alpha inhibitors which work by stopping particular chemicals in the blood from activating your immune system

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