Whether it’s an over-the-counter pill or prescription-strength medicine, here’s what you should know to avoid side-effects that can affect your training, racing and overall health.
Also known as: Advil, Motrin, Aleve
These all fall into the category of NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In high enough doses, NSAID medicines can cause ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage.
Keys to safer use: NSAIDs stop your blood from clotting, so if you strain a muscle, for example, taking Advil within 48 hours will make it harder for your body to heal. Instead, think RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Don’t use NSAIDs to mask pain. If it hurts badly enough to change your swim, bike or run movement pattern, get the injury checked out. Don’t load up on NSAIDs before a long run or race—high-dose use has been linked to kidney damage during endurance events due to its constriction of blood vessels. Finally, never take NSAIDs on an empty stomach.