Which medications in the drug class Nonsteroidal Analgesics are used in the treatment of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)?

Updated: Oct 25, 2022
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Nonsteroidal Analgesics

Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) add to the effects of opioids during painful crisis. This allows use of lower doses of narcotics.


Ketorolac is an intravenously administered NSAID and a very powerful analgesic. It inhibits prostaglandin synthesis by decreasing activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase, which results in decreased formation of prostaglandin precursors. In turn, this results in reduced inflammation.

Aspirin (Ecotrin, Ascriptin, Bayer Aspirin, St. Joseph Adult Aspirin, Durlaza)

Aspirin treats mild to moderate pain. It inhibits prostaglandin synthesis, which prevents formation of platelet-aggregating thromboxane A2.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Aspirin-Free Anacin, Acephen, Cetafen Extra, Ofirmev)

Acetaminophen is the drug of choice for pain in patients with documented hypersensitivity to aspirin or NSAIDs, with upper GI disease, or who are taking oral anticoagulants. Acetaminophen is believed to work peripherally to block pain impulse generation.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Genpril, I-Prin, Motrin IB, Addaprin)

Ibuprofen is usually the drug of choice for treatment of mild to moderate pain, if no contraindications exist. It inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing the activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, resulting in inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis.

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