I stumbled upon this in the medical databases last night while searching for any current research or information on endometrios my readers would find interesting. There were two articles that jumped out, and one of which I will highlight in today’s blog post. The first article covered the popular use of NSAID’s (namely Naproxen) as a popular treatment for endometriosis and whether or not it was an effective medical treatment. This interested me because, and I don’t know about you gals, but Naproxen doesn’t even touch my pain – especially when it’s cystic pain! Yet, gynecologist’s repeatedly swear by the stuff and refuse to prescribe anything worth my copay.
Unfortunately, all I could access was the abstract and not the full article (some have full articles, and some don’t), but it was an excellent abstract to work from. The study: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain in women with endometriosis ; conducted by Allen C., Hopewell S., Prentice A., Gregory D. for Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Online), 2009, Oxford, United Kingdom.
The study objectives were to: “To assess the effects of NSAID’s used for the management of pain in women with endometriosis compared to placebo, other NSAID’s, other pain management drugs, or no treatment” (Allen C., Hopewell S., Prentice A., Gregory D. 2009). The study showed that, when they compared Naproxen to a placebo, it produced no positive pain relief for women with endometriosis. They also found “inconclusive evidence” to suggest that these women, women who are prescribed Naproxen for their endometriosis pain, often have to seek further medication with other analgesics.
Another interesting note about their research – “There is no evidence on whether any individual NSAID is more effective than another” (Allen C,. et all 2009). I would like to note that when I was prescribed Naproxen and found no relief, I was then prescribed Cataflam (according to my doctor, a “stronger NSAID”). This didn’t help my cystic pain either. Eventually, I just learned to deal with the pain. After all, after I read through the side effects list that accompanied my prescription of Cataflam from Walgreens, I was not about to take any more than the first three days I had already taken. Cataflam, unlike Naproxen, required me to remain upright for 30 or 60 minutes (can’t remember how long, it’s been a long time since I’ve taken it) after I took it. When I read this in my pamphlet, “This medicine can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use Cataflam,” I just about hit the deck. I don’t like stuff that could cause heart attacks and strokes when I have stroke-like migraines!
And wow, even scientists acknowledge that NSAIDS are not good for us. “As shown in other Cochrane reviews, women using NSAIDs need to be aware of the possibility that these drugs may cause unintended effects” (Allen C., et all 2009).
Unintended effects??? You mean to tell me I can get “unintended effects” from a medication my doctor prescribes that’s 1) not even helping me and 2) he’s just giving me to shut me up and get me out of his office? Great, because I don’t have enough going against me right now! So, Mr. Scientist, what are these “unintended effects”? You know, other than it can kill me!
And now it gets serious:
I know, you are thinking “Endochick, those ‘serious’ things are only for people who abuse NSAID’s or take them long term.” Well, which category do you think endometriosis and chronic pain patients fall into? My doctor wanted me to take Naproxen and Cataflam for over two years, but I never refilled the prescriptions. The stuff made me feel icky and gross. And it never relieved my pain completely, so why bother.
How about you? Has NSAID’s helped your endometriosis? Or, like the study results, have you found they don’t really do much for your pain?