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Western Pain Society Galvanizes Coalition to Launch the Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- To coincide with PAINWeek 2012, the Western Pain Society, the largest regional society of the American Pain Society, in partnership with eight professional and patient organizations, announced today the launch of the Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs. The Alliance will serve as a public health coalition of professional and patient organizations, clinicians and other relevant stakeholders committed to supporting the safe and appropriate use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

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The Alliance is organized under the auspices of the Western Pain Society in partnership with:

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
  • American Chronic Pain Association
  • HealthyWomen
  • National Council on Patient Information and Education
  • National Kidney Foundation

NSAIDs are one of the most commonly used medications in the United States for pain relief and reduction of fever and inflammation. NSAIDs, available by prescription and sold over-the-counter (OTC) by brand and generic names, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, are generally safe when used properly. However, as with all medications, NSAIDs are not without risks and can cause significant and even life-threatening adverse events that affect gastrointestinal (digestive system), renal (kidney) and cardiovascular (heart) health.

To guide appropriate use and lessen the risk of adverse events, the FDA and medical societies strongly recommend that all NSAIDs should be administered at the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration of time, while taking into account patient-specific risk factors and clinical needs. However, implementation of this guidance is lacking and the Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs aims to change that.

"Failure to comply with NSAID medical guidance is common, but taking NSAIDs inappropriately can pose major health risks for those managing pain and inflammation," said Dr. Bill McCarberg, president of the Western Pain Society and Chair of the Alliance for Rational NSAID Use. "As NSAID use continues to grow in an aging America, we hope to bridge the gap between the medical guidance and real-world use of NSAIDs."

The availability and use of OTC NSAIDs complicates adherence to guidance and impacts the safe use of NSAID products. In an observational study of osteoarthritis patients, over 90 percent of patients were at increased gastrointestinal or cardiovascular risk, but more than half of those patients were prescribed OTC NSAIDs not in accordance with current guidelines or regulatory recommendations.

"There is a desperate need for education and active communication about safe use of NSAIDs with health care professionals, as well as within the patient community," said Jennifer Wagner, executive director of the Western Pain Society. "Our hope is that the Alliance will bring this initiative to life and make a difference for patients requiring the use of NSAID therapy."

While driving appropriate use of NSAIDs is imperative to prevent greater public health concerns, the Alliance recognizes the value NSAIDs serve in the pain community. Fear of side effects should not prevent people from taking NSAIDs, since untreated pain can become a serious health issue as well. Instead, it is important to be attentive to ensure that those taking NSAIDs are taking the lowest dose for the shortest duration of time.

For more information about the Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs, or to become an Alliance partner, visit: Follow us on Twitter at @NSAIDAware,

About the Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs
The Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs is a public health coalition dedicated to the safe and appropriate use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The Alliance aims to bridge the gap between guidance and clinical practice, educating health care professionals and the public at-large on the and appropriate use of NSAID therapy—maximizing benefits while reducing risks, and improving health care delivery. To learn more or to get involved, visit

SOURCE Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs
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