An anti-inflammatory is a substance that decreases inflammation.


Types of anti-inflammatory

Anti-inflammatories may be sold as pills, lotions, gels or creams, suppositories or injections. eg steroidal anti-inflammatories such as cortisone, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (NSAIDS). Many natural dietary supplements also have anti-inflammatory effects.

There are two main groups of anti-inflammatory:

Non steroidal anti-inflammatories

These drugs are very commonly prescribed and many can be bought over the counter. Studies show that there is very little to choose between them overall, but one type may suit a patient better than another.

All are known to have side effects, the most common being that of stomach irritation.


Steroidal anti-inflammatories

Steroidal anti-inflammatories include substances related to cortisone, like methylprednisolone acetate. In osteoarthritis of the knee, these are usually administered via injections into the joint (intra-articular) but for severe knee conditions like rheumatoid arthritis steroids may be given by mouth over a long period of time.


Interpretation by the Editor of a peer-reviewed article in the published medical literature.


Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...