Without excess, painkillers are considered completely harmless. But a study has shown that while painkillers are indeed effective for certain health conditions, some of them have unexplained and potentially dangerous health effects.
Analgesic, painkiller, NSAIDs: what are they?
Also called painkillers or analgesics, analgesics are medications used to treat pain. Doliprane, Efferalgan, Dafalgan, Ibuprofen; there are a very large number of brands of painkillers available on the market. While many brands are similar, you should know that there are several types of painkillers, and the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies them according to the intensity of the pain they can treat. In general, three types of analgesics are considered, and the most commonly used is “step 1”.
Painkillers classified in Tier 1 are drugs for the treatment of mild and common pain, and this includes paracetamol-based drugs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The majority of tier 1 painkillers can be purchased over the counter without a prescription, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe. In fact, a new study by researchers at Yale University has shown that some of these drugs can have surprising side effects on the human body.
Discovery of a new mechanism of action for NSAIDs
According to the results of the study published in the journal Immunity, some NSAIDs can have adverse effects on serious diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, while others are associated with a decreased incidence of these same diseases. To better understand this, researchers have re-examined how these drugs work. Until now, researchers believed that the anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs resulted solely from the inhibition of certain enzymes.
But this mechanism does not take into account many clinical results which vary from one family of drugs to another. To go further in their research, the scientists conducted experiments on cell cultures and mice. In particular, they discovered a distinct mechanism by which a subset of NSAIDs reduce inflammation. This mechanism is notably linked to a protein called NFR2. If activated, this protein protects the cells of the body against damage caused by oxidative stress and therefore prevents inflammatory processes.
While this new mechanism thus explains the effectiveness of some NSAIDs against inflammation, it does not explain why others have adverse health effects. According to the researchers, more studies should be conducted on this subject, as it could radically change the use and regulations on NSAIDs. ” Because people use NSAIDs so frequently, it’s important that we know what they do in the body. “, declared in particular Anna Eisenstein, lead author of the study, in a statement. Moreover, these studies are also needed to find more effective ways to use these drugs for the treatment of diseases such as allergy and autoimmune diseases.