Medical Q&As

Phlebitis - cannot take NSAIDs?

I have been diagnosed as having phlebitis (vein inflammation) in one leg, but can't have anti-inflammatory drugs because I am asthmatic. How can I obtain relief from this painful condition?

There may be specific reasons in your particular case as to why you are unable to take NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) but it would be wrong to say that NSAIDs are contraindicated in all asthmatics. Studies have suggested that up to 20% of people with asthma are sensitive to aspirin and in some of those cases aspirin can induce severe asthma attacks. If hypersensitivity to aspirin exists NSAIDs are probably best avoided because the person might also develop hypersensitivity to the NSAID, which could result in a severe asthma attack. If a person does not have aspirin hypersensitivity then NSAIDs can be used provided the person has not reacted against such drugs previously. There are several topical NSAID gels on the market, which might be a suitable treatment for you because there is very little systemic absorption of such drugs into the blood when applied to the area of inflammation. Sometimes antibiotics may be needed to treat phlebitis especially when infection is present. Support stockings or bandages can also be very helpful in providing support and comfort to the inflamed area. It is generally recommended that the affected limb be elevated to reduce swelling, which in turn should also help to reduce pain.