CPR First Aid

What is the Best Anti-Inflammatory Medication​?

Healthdirect, the national virtual public health information service, states that aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and COX-2 inhibitors are examples of the best anti-inflammatory medication. In Australia, these are available at lower dosages over-the-counter and with a doctor’s prescription. This group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) helps relieve pain, swelling, and other symptoms. However, these may have side effects and are unsafe for certain people. While the following information explains more about these, it is best to consult a GP before taking one. 

What is the Best Anti-Inflammatory Medication​?

The following non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective medications available in Australia. 

Effective Australian NSAIDs: ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, celecoxib.


Aspirin is an active ingredient in many medicines and is known as a first aid for pain and fever. Healthcare professionals may also recommend it for those with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases. It’s taken orally but may have risks to the following.

  • Pregnant
  • Children under 16 years old
  • Children recovering from chicken pox, influenza, or fever
  • Adults older than 65 years old

Seek advice from a pharmacist or a GP before taking it.


Naproxen works as a temporary relief for pain and inflammation that comes with additional symptoms.

  • Tension or migraine headache
  • Sinus pain
  • Dental pain
  • Backache
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Sprains and strains
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatic pain
  • Menstruation/ period pain
  • Colds & flu

It’s taken orally and available over-the-counter with risks to pregnant and seniors. Consult a healthcare professional before considering buying this medicine.


Ibuprofen gives temporary relief to the following symptoms.

  • Fever
  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Inflammation
  • Headache
  • Sinus pain
  • Toothache and pain after dental procedures
  • Backache
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Period pain
  • Sore throat
  • Arthritis

It comes in different brands, forms, and strengths. Be sure to seek advice from a pharmacist if you buy it over the counter.


Diclofenac treats musculoskeletal inflammatory conditions such as sprains, tendinitis, sports injuries, tendinitis, and bursitis. It is a slightly yellow gel put on the surface of the skin. It may also be unsafe for seniors and pregnant so consult a healthcare expert for possible risks. 

COX-2 Inhibitors

COX-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib and meloxicam are known as a good remedy for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, primary dysmenorrhoea, and acute pain. Both medicines require a prescription and are available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

How to Choose Which Anti-Inflammatory Medication to Take?

It is best to seek advice from a pharmacist and a GP to find the right medicine for you. A healthcare professional may ask about the symptoms, age, and health history to give a recommendation. 

Where to Buy Anti-Inflammatory Medication?

Visit the website of Healthdirect to find the nearest pharmacy that offers the drugs that reduce inflammation. Well-known chemists in the country also sell these medicines online through their websites. Store them properly according to the label’s instructions or put them in your first aid kit.

Visit Healthdirect to find the nearest pharmacy offering anti-inflammatory drugs. Well-known chemists also sell these online. Store properly according to label instructions or in your first aid kit.

What is the Use of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs?

Medicines come with leaflets that provide information on their usage. Anti-inflammatory drugs are effective in treating pain, inflammation, and other symptoms. But, they may only serve as temporary relief and do not cure the underlying cause. It is best to consult a GP to ask about your concerns, diagnose a possible health issue, and get the right treatment.

What are the Possible Side Effects of Anti-Inflammatory Medication?

According to Arthritis Australia, a national arthritis charity, the side effects of anti-inflammatory medications may include any of the following.

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain 
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stomach or duodenal ulcers

The risk of side effects increases at certain conditions which is why such medicines may be unsafe to some people.

Who is at Risk of Taking Anti-Inflammatory Drugs?

As mentioned above, some of these medicines may pose risks to children, those recovering from specific sicknesses, and adults above 65 years old. The risk of side effects may also increase in the following situations.

  • Existing medical conditions such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, or a kidney or liver condition
  • Frail seniors as the medicines may increase the risk of stroke
  • Dehydrated people
  • People who are already taking medicines that contain an NSAID
  • Alcoholic people
  • People who exceed the dosage
  • People who take medicines for other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, blood thinners, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis

Seek advice from a pharmacist or a GP about the risks even if you do not belong to any of these groups.

What are the Common Causes of Inflammation?

Musculoskeletal Australia, a consumer organisation that advocates musculoskeletal conditions, explains the causes of acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation which usually occurs quickly, happens when the body starts the healing process as a reaction to an infection or injury. So, it is not always inherently bad and is essential for the body’s recovery.

On the other hand, chronic inflammation, which lasts for months to years, may indicate a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and bowel diseases. It comes with additional symptoms including fatigue, weight changes, frequent infections, digestive problems, and rashes. See a doctor if you experience any of these who may conduct tests for proper diagnosis.

How to Prevent Inflammation?

The Arthritis NSW, a health charity, recommends the following tips to reduce inflammation.

  • Eat more “anti-inflammatory” foods such as fruits, vegetables, salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax seeds and soybeans
  • Do aerobic exercise and resistance training at least four to five times per week
  • Manage stress
  • Create a healthy bedtime routine for good sleep

It is also ideal for obese and overweight people to manage their weight to reduce inflammation.


Aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and COX-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib and meloxicam are the best anti-inflammatory medications available in Australia. A pharmacist and a GP may be able to guide you on the right medicine according to your condition. Such are available in pharmacies and online. Anti-inflammatory drugs work as temporary relief for pain, inflammation, and other symptoms. But, these may have side effects and may be unsafe for certain people. So, it’s always best to seek advice from a healthcare professional before taking one. On the other hand, inflammation is the body’s reaction to recover from an infection or injury. But, if it lasts for months up to years, it may indicate a serious health problem. See a doctor if it becomes persistent and comes with additional symptoms.



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