People who live with chronic pain often find themselves in a catch-22. The very medications that ease their pain can damage their stomachs and, in some cases, lead to life-threatening complications. The American College of Gastroenterology estimates that 14 million arthritis patients regularly use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS. This includes the popular pain relievers aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. Up to 60 percent of people who use NSAIDS regularly experience some type of gastrointestinal distress, such as heartburn, stomach pain or nausea, and a smaller percentage develop ulcers. Bleeding ulcers and other gastrointestinal complications send 100,000 NSAIDS users to the hospital every year and cause up to 10,000 deaths. Now there are new strategies to help patients with chronic pain protect their stomachs without giving up NSAIDS. (612)
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