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Painkillers called NSAIDs

BMJ Group Medical Reference

NSAIDs are a common type of painkiller. Ibuprofen is a well-known NSAID. You can buy some NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, yourself from a pharmacy. You can also get stronger NSAIDs or higher doses of ibuprofen on prescription from your doctor.

Researchers have looked at NSAIDs called indometacin and diclofenac to see if they help with pain from kidney stones. These drugs can be given as tablets, injections, or suppositories (tablets you put inside your rectum).

In one study, people who took indometacin were less likely to need extra painkillers than people who took a dummy treatment (a placebo). [18]

  • About 3 in 10 people taking a dummy treatment needed to take extra painkillers.

  • But only 1 in 10 people taking indometacin needed more painkillers.

Another study found that people who took diclofenac were less likely to need to go to hospital because of the pain. [19]

  • Nearly 7 in 10 people who took a dummy treatment had to go to hospital with pain.

  • Only 1 in 10 people who took diclofenac needed to go to hospital.

The studies we looked at didn't mention any side effects. We do know that NSAIDs can irritate your stomach, especially if you take them as tablets.



A placebo is a 'pretend' or dummy treatment that contains no active substances. A placebo is often given to half the people taking part in medical research trials, for comparison with the 'real' treatment. It is made to look and taste identical to the drug treatment being tested, so that people in the studies do not know if they are getting the placebo or the 'real' treatment. Researchers often talk about the 'placebo effect'. This is where patients feel better after having a placebo treatment because they expect to feel better. Tests may indicate that they actually are better. In the same way, people can also get side effects after having a placebo treatment. Drug treatments can also have a 'placebo effect'. This is why, to get a true picture of how well a drug works, it is important to compare it against a placebo treatment.


The rectum is the last 15 to 20 centimetres (six to eight inches) of the large intestine, ending with the anus (where you empty your bowels from).

For more terms related to Kidney stones


For references related to Kidney stones click here.
Last Updated: October 07, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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