What alternatives are there to aspirin and NSAIDS (besides acetaminophen)?
May 6, 2008 12:21 PM   Subscribe

What alternatives are there to aspirin and NSAIDS (besides acetaminophen)?

I'm recently developed allergy to aspirin. This allergy has also made me sensitive to NSAIDS. The normal alternative is acetaminophen (Tylenol). But Tylenol does absolutely nothing for me.

I recently experienced a muscle strain; normally I would take some Advil for inflammation, but I can't have that, so I took nothing. What can I take instead of that or Tylenol in this instance?

What do I take when I get a headache? I'm at a loss here.

To review: advil, tylenol, aleve, asprin, motrin, excedrine are all out.
posted by misanthropicsarah to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Cyclobenzaprine or carisoprodol. Both require prescriptions.
posted by pieoverdone at 12:31 PM on May 6, 2008

Celebrex and other cox-2 inhibitors, good luck with the heart disease though.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:32 PM on May 6, 2008

I feel your pain. For a while I couldn't take aspirin or the NSAIDs because of their blood-thinning properties, and Tylenol does nothing for me either. The best I could do was convince my doc to prescribe me some Tylenol 3's (Tylenol w/ Codiene). It didn't totally get rid of the pain, but it helped and despite the grogginess factor was still better than nothing.
posted by cgg at 12:33 PM on May 6, 2008

There's a fair amount of bad information in this thread already. You should talk to your doctor in order to get some good information about this topic.
posted by 517 at 12:40 PM on May 6, 2008

Cox-2s are NSAIDS.
posted by pieoverdone at 12:41 PM on May 6, 2008

Response by poster: my doctor's a moron and doesn't understand how i'm "suddenly" allergic to aspirin. not all good information comes from doctors.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:52 PM on May 6, 2008

Cox-2s are NSAIDS

Yes, but cox-2's are are usually tolerated by those who suffer from problems with other NSAIDS.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2008

I should add here (I should have added from the beginning) I am not a doctor, just a guy with a lot of allergies and digestive issues that's had to do a little study in both areas to keep myself from having a lot of pain.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:07 PM on May 6, 2008

If you are allergic to NSAIDS you are probably also allergic to COX-2 inhibitors. There was a study on this at one time. Something like half of the people in the study who had NSAID allergies had allergic reaction to a COX-2 inhibitor. Tread carefully in this area and only with very competent medical assistance.
posted by caddis at 1:16 PM on May 6, 2008

A formal allergy consult to better outline the extent of your aspirin v. nsaid allergy might be a place to start.
posted by docpops at 1:17 PM on May 6, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, I knew that cox-2s were almost certainly an issue for me as well. I'm also not interested in Topamax or anything like that.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:19 PM on May 6, 2008

Response by poster: A formal allergy consult to better outline the extent of your aspirin v. nsaid allergy might be a place to start.

My allergist said he wouldn't do that because he didn't want to risk me having a bad reaction (I do the whole anaphylaxis thing when I take asprin. It's awesome.). So his opinion was to just avoid everything. Which again, is awesome.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2008

I can't have NSAIDs either. I am still recovering from whiplash sustained two years ago. I have had to use heat/cold (depending on situation), warm baths & showers (as appropriate), physiotheraphy, exercises and so on. You would probably benefit from talking to a physio about muscle strain, if your doctor can't help you.
posted by acoutu at 1:24 PM on May 6, 2008

Some non drug remedies are capsaicin (applied to skin) and a regimen of fish oil pills as the omega 3 has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
posted by bigmusic at 2:25 PM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

What alternatives are there to aspirin and NSAIDS (besides acetaminophen)?
Oh, and isn't an anti inflamatory - you want an anti-inflamatory.
posted by bigmusic at 2:27 PM on May 6, 2008

er, acetaminophen and isn't an anti inflamatory
posted by bigmusic at 2:27 PM on May 6, 2008

Tramadol, maybe. What are your symptoms of the aspirin allergy and NSAID sensitivity? I really recommend discussing this with a doctor. Also, and I don't want to sound like an ass, but select a pharmacy where you will have regular interaction with a pharmacist you trust. Too often we have people who come in the pharmacy with 'allergies' to all traditional analgesics and are narcotics seekers. If you can find a pharmacist you can discuss this with, you are far less likely to be treated as a drug seeker by Rph and the pharm staff.
posted by pieoverdone at 2:34 PM on May 6, 2008

You need a doctor who doesn't dismiss your concerns. If you cannot take aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or Tylenol, and your doctor is unwilling to prescribe another type of medicine, then it sounds like you're sort of out of luck.

* Find a doctor who doesn't think you're trying to score narcotics
* For inflammation: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
* For headaches: Caffeine (unless it's a migrane). Lots and lots of liquid. An adjustment to your eyeglasses/contact perscription. A nap.
* "Naturopathic" or "Holistic" medicine. Some supplements are bunk, but some really work.
* For menstrual cramps, I find that a hot compress on the lower abdomen really helps quite a bit.
posted by muddgirl at 2:50 PM on May 6, 2008

I can only speak from my own experience, but I have a lot of it. I became allergic to aspirin about 20 years ago (yeah, your doctor is a doofus) and I have since developed a chronic pain condition as a result of a car accident. I've spent about 15 years trying to get effective pain medication from various doctors.

In the medical community, there is such paranoia about narcotic pain meds. And I don't use the word "paranoia" in an offhand manner. If you ask for pain relief, they will prescribe tramadol (a non-narcotic, with a mixed history of effectiveness.) If you ask for something else, you get labeled as "possibly drug-seeking." I finally found someone who is willing to prescribe vicodin for me. He wanted to be sure that I had no history of addiction, but once he was satisfied that I wasn't a druggie I've been able to treat my pain and start living a semi-normal life.

Your first step would be to find a doctor who understands your new allergy to nsaids. Take it up with him/her, and cross your fingers.
posted by shifafa at 4:44 PM on May 6, 2008

yeah, opioids (morphine, oxycontin, codeine, etc) and certain antidepressants are basically the only other options if tylenol and nsaids don't work.

tramadol is essentially a very mild opioid and is less controlled than the others. it is easier to get buprenorphine (suboxone, subutex) than the "pure" opioid drugs-- buprenorphine is an opioid, but it has a "ceiling" effect such that taking more after a while produces the opposite result so it's very difficult to OD on. So doctors are less paranoid about it-- of course, now the media is trying to create a buprenorphine panic, but the reality is, it's safer than the others.
posted by Maias at 6:18 PM on May 6, 2008

Yan Hu Suo aka Corydalis Stop Pain Tablets can offer relief for headache, trauma. Fairly common chinese medicine. Pain meds never worked for me so I stopped trying them; I can't tell you how well they work. Supposedly 1/100 the pain relief of opium.
posted by pointilist at 11:05 PM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

i also feel your pain, i had an allergic reaction to NSAIDS a little over 2 yrs ago and now have to rely on Tylenol which is such a joke versus my pain. Right now i'm nursing a spasming neck and shoulder. I second everyone that said try creams and balms with capsaisin in it. I really like Ultra Blue. I also like Sombra. Also muscle relaxers can help, I'm on cyclobenzaprine right now. But really, it's kind of a pain no pun intended.
As for the cox 2 stuff...my allergist told me that people with nsaid allergies tend to tolerate some of the cox2 drugs better, but the only way to really find out is get a prescription for one pill of celebrex and then take it while sitting in the doc's office. I was told there is no specific test for allergy to NSAIDS, it's only by process of elimination and a close review of your intake pre attack that you can tell. this could be a load of shit though. anyway. good luck!
posted by Soulbee at 7:39 AM on May 7, 2008

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