Rheumatism - does your stomach need protection?

In the fight against rheumatic pain effective painkillers are irreplaceable. But these effective and soothing preparations often damage the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines. Therefore one can not renounce it. But you can arm yourself against the attack: with a special gastric protection therapy.

NSAIDs for rheumatism

For rheumatic pain and swollen joints, the most commonly used are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They effectively relieve the pain, but can significantly affect the sensitive mucous membrane of the stomach and intestine. Possible consequences: "Painkiller ulcers" in the stomach, which cause massive bleeding and can lead to serious to life-threatening complications. These side effects occur regardless of whether tablets, suppositories or syringes are used, because the drug reaches in any case via the bloodstream to the stomach.

Stomach pain is not felt

Research has shown that gastric ulcer develops in every fourth to fifth patient when these medicines are used for extended periods. More than half of those affected feel nothing of it. Because the painkillers suppress not only the rheumatic pain, but also the signals of possibly resulting stomach problems. But even if these side effects are a problem, so goes the proven rheumatic pain remedies usually no way around.

Protection for the most vulnerable

The good news: protection of the stomach is possible. This is especially important for those who have certain risk factors (see Risk Check). If two or more risk factors apply, or a stomach ulcer is already known, experts recommend a so-called gastric protection therapy.

In addition, medicines are used which are intended to protect the sensitive gastric mucosa against the harmful effects of rheumatic painkillers. Clinical studies have shown that proton pump blockers (PPI) can effectively fight ulcers of NSAIDs in the stomach and duodenum.

Active substances with different consequences

Most of the studies were conducted in this drug group with the substance omeprazole, which was regarded as the "gold standard" for years. The reason: In the early 1990s, omeprazole was the first active ingredient that effectively slowed acid production in the stomach. He is in many medications today. But that was not the end of the development. The classic and pioneer omeprazole was followed by additional developments. Today, drugs are available that can reduce acid production very well.

Less acidity means fewer side effects for anyone who needs to take rheumatic pain medication. In other words, more protection for rheumatics from gastric ulcers due to NSAIDs is not possible with regular intake and correct dosage by today's standards.


Test yourself if you are taking NSAIDs for rheumatism or other severe pain over a period of more than two to four weeks.

  1. Are you older than 60 years?
  2. Have you had stomach ulcer or other stomach problems in the past?
  3. Do you regularly take acetylsalicylic acid in addition to other supplements?
  4. Take z. B. Phenprocoumon as a blood thinning agent?
  5. In addition to NSAIDs, do you also receive cortisone for your complaints?
  6. Do you suffer from other serious illnesses?

If you have answered yes once or more often, you should ask your doctor for a stomach protection therapy in order to be able to specifically prevent and treat your rheumatic pain (stomach) gently.

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