Indomethacin is an anti-inflammatory medication, that belongs to the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is mainly used for relieving the pain and inflammation caused by a number of conditions, including arthritis. But despite being an effective medication, it can produce some adverse effects, which are discussed below.
As mentioned already, it is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and it is widely used for reducing fever, pain, and inflammation. It is especially used for relieving the pain, inflammation, and stiffness caused by arthritis and gout.
It works by inhibiting the production of a hormone-like substance, known as prostaglandin. Prostaglandin is responsible for producing the sensation of pain and other discomforts associated with a physical injury or trauma. By reducing the production of prostaglandin, indomethacin can reduce pain and swelling. Apart from arthritis and gout, it is used for relieving the pain caused by spondylitis, tendinitis, ankylosis, and bursitis.
Over the years, several studies have been conducted to evaluate the side effects of this medication. Some commonly observed side effects of this medication are, headaches, vertigo, dizziness, drowsiness, heartburn or indigestion, tinnitus or ringing in the ear, nausea, and vomiting. Along with these, one can experience gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Sometimes, it can increase the risk of developing peptic ulcers, and cause bleeding or perforation in the stomach or intestine.
But the more serious side effects are related to the cardiovascular system. This medicine can cause peripheral edema, cerebral insufficiency, and high blood pressure at times. Several studies have pointed out that people who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for a prolonged period of time, can have a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Apart from these, several hematological side effects have also been reported. Such side effects can include, leukopenia (a reduced count of white blood cells), anemia (especially aplastic anemia and hemolytic anemia), and thrombocytopenia (abnormal reduction in the number of platelets). Some people may develop an allergic reaction to this drug that can manifest in skin rash, shortness of breath, and unusual swelling and inflammation of the face or other parts of the body.
Sometimes, the long-term use of this medication can cause some potentially life-threatening complications, like liver and kidney failure, fluid retention, and congestive heart failure. Therefore, adequate care and precaution should be maintained while taking indomethacin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The use of certain medications while taking this drug can further increase the risk of developing the serious side effects. The simultaneous use of alcohol and indomethacin can increase the risk of stomach bleeding.
So, one should provide detailed information about his or her medical history to a physician before taking indomethacin. A history of heart attacks or strokes, stomach ulcers, bleeding disorders, asthma, and liver and kidney diseases may raise the risk of developing the serious side effects associated with this medication. Therefore, people with an underlying health condition should talk to their physician before taking this non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Finally, be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you experience chest pain and shortness of breath, or observe symptoms of stomach or intestinal bleeding, like black or bloody stool and blood in vomit.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.