Aspirin and other pain relievers can interfere with wound healing.
People rely on medications to help treat a number of different ailments, from heart disease to fungal growth. However, depending on the circumstances, not all medications are helpful all of the time. This is especially true for patients experiencing chronic wounds, as specific medications can actually interfere with your ongoing wound care regimen. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are four primary drugs that actively inhibit the wound healing process. A basic understanding of these meds is often crucial to effective wound infection treatment.
Doctors regularly utilize immunosuppressants in order to prevent the spread of infections. However, most immunosuppressants often don’t take a targeted approach to treatment, and instead shut down the body’s entire immune system. That may turn the tide against infections, but it prevents a number of vital bodily functions, namely your ability to heal wounds. In order to address this concern, more researchers are looking into creating bacteria-specific immunosuppressants.
An umbrella term for several medications, corticosteroids create artificial versions of hormones naturally released by your adrenal glands. This surge of hormones helps to battle the inflammation associated with a number of ailments, including asthma, skin rashes and lupus. However, too much of these hormones can shut down your immune system – similar to immunosuppressants – and prevent wounds from healing. According to a study published in the American Journal of Surgery, corticosteroids can greatly diminish the durability of wounds as they heal.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – or NSAIDs – refer to pain relievers like aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. While they have similar anti-inflammatory effects to steroids, NSAIDs rely on special enzymes that create compounds called prostaglandins, which help to reduce swelling and relieve accompanying pain and fever. However, research has shown that some NSAIDs – namely meds called COX-2 inhibitors – interfere with platelet function. If these platelets don’t operate properly, this can diminish cell function in the clotting process.
Most people have the ability to stop bleeding on their own, as specific proteins activate in order to form blood clots. However, some individuals – including those with issues in their biochemistry – create too many clots, which can increase their risk of stroke or heart attack. Though anticoagulants like heparin can break down these excess clots, they also interrupt normal cell division. This, in turn, can reduce the healing process and increase the amount of bleeding a patient experiences. As such, doctors have to carefully monitor the use of anticoagulants.
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