A possible link has been found between the use of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the development of invasive group A streptococcal diseases such as necrotizing facilitis (the so called flesh eating bug).

Doctors from the Paediatric Infectious Disease Unit, writing in the BMJ, review the evidence so far and propose that NSAIDs may mask signs of inflammation that could otherwise lead to the early diagnosis and treatment of strep infection.

It’s also been shown that NSAIDs increase the risk of infection by inhibiting neutrophil function and aid cytokine production.

This is particularly true for patients with musculoskeletal side effects after chickenpox ,who may be on the receiving end of more NSAIDs.

These results are worrying as NSAIDs are increasingly being offered as treatment fever in adults and children. The authors conclude that using these anti inflammatories as a first line treatment or when the diagnosis is uncertain may be unwise (BMJ, 1997, 349: 1623-4).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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