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Pain Killers and Anti Inflammatory Drugs

Arthritis mainly causes pain and inflammation of the joint. That is why most of the medications used to treat arthritis are aimed to reduce pain and inflammation of the joint. This may vary depending upon the type, severity and impact of arthritis and may include:

  • Analgesics or Pain relievers: Analgesics are given in almost all types of arthritis as they reduce the pain but have no effect on inflammation. They should best be taken regularly during flared up time of disease or before the activity that generally aggravates the pain. Analgesics for arthritis includes–
    • Acetaminophen
    • Tramadol
    • Narcotics containing oxycodone
    • Hydrocodone
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs are drugs that reduce pain, stiffness and inflammation. They can be taken along with analgesics to provide relief in times of acute attack of the disease. But NSAIDs should not be taken for prolonged period of time. In fact their smallest effective dose should be taken for shortest possible period of time. They may cause digestive problems and so are given with a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), to protect the stomach. NSAIDs for arthritis includes–
    • Ibuprofen
    • Naproxen sodium
    • Aceclofenac
  • Counter irritants: These include creams and ointments that contain menthol or capsaicin. These ingredients when rubbed on skin of the aching joint may interfere with the transmission of pain signals from the joint itself and provide temporary relief to the patient
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): These drugs are most often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis either by slowing or stopping the immune system from attacking the joints. They suppress inflammation and treat the underlying disease. DMARDs for arthritis includes–
    • Methotrexate
    • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Biologic response modifiers: These drugs are used in conjunction with DMARDs to target various protein molecules involved in the immune response. Biologic response modifiers for arthritis includes–
    • Etanercept
    • Infliximab
  • Corticosteroids: These drugs reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. They can either be taken orally or injected into the affected joint/muscle. They are most commonly used to treat inflammatory arthritis and connective tissue disease. Corticosteroids can cause osteoporosis and that’s why they are used for shortest period of time. Corticosteroids for arthritis includes
    • Prednisone
    • Cortisone

Drugs are often beneficial in almost all cases of arthritis and give permanent or temporary relief from pain to the patient. But every drug should be taken carefully under the supervision of a doctor following all his instructions. In case of any side-effect that is suspected to be caused by the drug, patient should immediately consult his doctor and take his advice before proceeding further.