Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce inflammation, with notable benefits in increasing survival and reducing risk of several types of cancer; however expert consensus is that the risks of harm from using these drugs long-term are greater than the benefits for prevention against cancer for many people.

Affordability and access

Prescription required?

Low-dose versions of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve and other brands) are widely available without a prescription but should be used for only for up to 10 days without seeing a doctor.1The Benefit and Risks of Pain Relievers: Q & A on NSAIDs with Sharon Hertz, MD. US Food and Drug Administration. September 24, 2015. Viewed September 28, 2021. See further cautions in Safety and precautions ›

Of the NSAIDs reviewed here, these require a prescription in the US:

  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Diclofenac (Cambia and other brands)
  • Ibuprofen (at higher doses)
  • Indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex)
  • Ketorolac (Acuvail, Acular LS, Acular, and ReadySharp)
  • Sulindac (Clinoril)

Other names and brands

You may find NSAIDs under these alternate names and brands: 

Generic nameBrand name(s)
CelecoxibCelebrex
DiclofenacCambia, Cataflam, Dyloject, Flector, Pennsaid, Solaraze, Voltaren, Voltaren-XR, Voltarol, Zipsor, Zorvolex, Arthrotec (combination with misoprostol)
Ibuprofen*Advil, Advil Dual Action (with acetaminophen), Caldolor, Children’s Advil, Children’s Elixsure IB, Children’s Motrin, Ibu-Tab, Ibuprohm, Motrin IB, Motrin Migraine Pain, Profen, Tab-Profen, Duexis (combination with famotidine), Reprexain (combination with hydrocodone), Vicoprofen (combination with hydrocodone)
IndomethacinIndocin, Tivorbex
KetorolacSprix
Naproxen*Aleve, Anaprox, Anaprox DS, EC-Naprosyn, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Treximet (combination with sumatriptan), Vimovo (combination with esomeprazole)
SulindacClinoril

*Many over-the-counter (OTC) products contain this drug.

Where to access

  • Pharmacies for prescription drugs
  • Drug stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Online drug stores

Affordability 

  • Prices are generally low to moderate (between $500 US and $2000 US/year), and costs for prescription drugs may be covered by insurance.

Keep reading about non-aspirin NSAIDs

Author

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Reviewers

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Barry D. Elson, MD

Integrative physician and CancerChoices advisor
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Barry D. Elson, MD, has been practicing and teaching integrative medicine for over 40 years. He has been the medical director of Northampton Wellness Associates, adjunct faculty for Touro University College of Medicine, medical director at Commonweal, and professor of medicine at the Pacific College of Naturopathic Medicine. He recently retired from clinical practice and has been providing freelance medical consulting. He is an avid biker, cross country skier, and sailor. He currently resides in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts.

Barry D. Elson, MD Integrative physician and CancerChoices advisor

Andrew Jackson, ND

Research Associate
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Andrew Jackson, ND, serves as a CancerChoices research associate. As a naturopathic physician practicing in Kirkland, Washington, he teaches critical evaluation of the medical literture at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. His great appreciation of scientific inquiry and the scientific process has led him to view research with a critical eye.

Andrew Jackson, ND Research Associate

Last update: May 17, 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

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