Antiphlogistics (inflammation inhibitors) – Effect, application & risks

Anti-inflammatory drugs (anti-inflammatories)

Antiphlogistics or anti- inflammatory drugs include active ingredients or treatment methods that curb the body’s inflammatory processes. These are a reaction of the body tissue to external mechanical, physical or infectious stimuli. If the body’s immune system is no longer able to ward off these stimuli, anti-inflammatory drugs are used.

What are anti-inflammatory drugs?

In order to be able to use anti- inflammatory drugs in a targeted manner, two types of inflammation must be distinguished. Classic inflammation is associated with pain , which, however, is merely a symptom of the disease.

Targeted methods for treating the disease in question can be used here. Inflammations that act at the cellular level and do not send any signals are more dangerous and therefore become chronic. These require modulation of certain hormones called eicosanoids. These can have both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory effects.

Drugs such as aspirin , non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAP), COX-2 inhibitors or corticosteroids reduce the “bad” eicosanoids, but also lead to a reduction in the level of “good” eicosanoids. Therefore, drug treatment is often combined with an anti-inflammatory diet.

Application, effect & use

Different types of anti -inflammatory drugs are used in medicine. Steroids (corticosteroids) reduce inflammation by binding to glucocorticoid receptors and have a massive impact on the body’s metabolism and water balance. They are used, for example, to treat asthma or neurodermatitis .Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAPs) block a specific enzyme called cyclooxygenase (or COX) that makes prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are hormone-like chemicals in the body that fight inflammation by raising temperature and widening blood vessels. By reducing the production of prostaglandins, NSAPs help reduce the symptoms of fever and inflammation and relieve the pain associated with it.

Some typical NSAPs are aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. They are commonly used to treat the pain and inflammation associated with some types of arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders.

Immunoselective anti-inflammatory drugs are a class of peptides representing a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs based on the understanding that the immune, nervous and endocrine systems interact in a complex manner to combat inflammation. They couple the modulation of eicosanoids with a consistent control of insulin delivery.

Herbal, natural & pharmaceutical antiphlogistics

Aside from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAPs), quite a few herbs have anti-inflammatory properties. For example, arnica contains helenalin, while willow bark contains salicylic acid , the main active ingredient of acetylsalicylic acid , the basis of which aspirin is made.

Cannabichromene – part of the cannabis plant, also has an anti-inflammatory effect. The main active ingredient in St. John’s wort is hyperforin, which is 3 – 18 times more effective than aspirin. The application of ice or cool water also has an anti-inflammatory effect and is often used as pain management for athletes. Cool temperatures inhibit local blood circulation and reduce swelling .

Anti-inflammatory nutrition now occupies a wide scope in modern treatment. This focuses on a balanced, varied diet rich in unprocessed foods and natural carbohydrates as well as unsaturated fats. Most fruits and vegetables and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids , such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, flaxseed, hemp seed, and walnuts are suitable for this diet. Virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, which has an effect similar to that of ibuprofen.

Turmeric, oregano, rosemary, ginger, and green tea contain bioflavonoids and polyphenols that reduce inflammation and promote free radical production. Above all, people with diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism , asthma, allergies , heart disease, cancer , Alzheimer’s or diabetes benefit from a change in diet.

In homeopathy, Myristica sebifera, Acidum nitricum, Hamamelis virginica, Kali chloratum and Echinacea are the main anti-inflammatory drugs used.

Risks & side effects

NSAPs commonly cause gastrointestinal side effects such as indigestion , stomach upset (including nausea or vomiting ), and abdominal pain . Long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs can also lead to ulcers and bleeding in the stomach or other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.Corticosteroids produce a massive excess of stomach acid and can trigger what is known as Cushing’s syndrome. Rising blood sugar levels promote the accumulation of body fat and muscle wasting in the limbs.

Some people are at higher risk of complications, including getting older, having existing medical conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure , diabetes or kidney disease, and drinking alcohol.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.