While there are plenty of medications used for arthritis currently on the market, it helps to remember that arthritis is not a curable condition. Regardless of the type of arthritis, the medications available provide at best, temporary relief to dull the pain. With arthritis as with most other illnesses, prevention is still better than the cure. However, if you do find yourself suffering from arthritis, at least you have a long list of medications that you can bank on to help you deal with the pain and inflammation.
These are the most common classes of medications used for arthritis. When choosing which one suits your needs, make sure to consult with your doctor first so complications and risks can be properly assessed prior to you taking the best medication for arthritis in your particular case.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – Also known as NSAIDs, these are the most common pain relief medications on the market. You can buy these over-the-counter and they work for a variety of other maladies other than arthritis. Their popularity means that almost all arthritis patients have used these drugs at one point or another. For more potent dosages, talk to your doctor in order to get a proper prescription.
Acetaminophen – This is another over-the-counter pain relief medication used for arthritis. A common example is Tylenol but there are many others. In the strictest sense, NSAIDs only different from acetaminophen in the way the patient responds to the medication. If the patient is not allergic to both, acetaminophen and NSAIDs are essentially interchangeable.
Corticosteroids – Steroids are one of the medications used for arthritis. However, steroids carry significant side effects including the possibility of disrupting the immune system, exposing the patient to infections and illnesses if taken for prolonged periods. One of the most effective ways to have steroids as medications used for arthritis is to directly inject it into the joints. The purpose of this is to control the dosage as well as minimize the likelihood that the patient will administer the drug unsupervised. Where NSAIDs and acetaminophen drugs are sufficient, doctors will avoid the use of corticosteroids at all cost in order to eliminate the risks caused by the side effects.
Hyaluronan injections – This treatment option involves injecting visco-supplementation stimulants into the joint to reduce pain. However, hylauronan injections are only closely correlated to relief in osteoarthritis and are far less effective in other forms of arthritis. Because of this its current use is fairly limited and is not considered as the best medication for arthritis in most cases.
As a point of emphasis, the joint damage inherent in arthritis is often irreversible so the medications used for arthritis become temporary sources of relief. Doctors may also recommend therapy to keep the joints limber as well as dietary supplements like cherries or other foods with a high amount of antioxidants to naturally control the severity of pain and the frequency of the arthritis attacks. Many times the treatment and management of pain requires a holistic approach with medications as only one component. It has been found that certain foods in the diet can cause the pain of arthritis to get better or worse. This means that a well chosen diet can many times be the best medication for arthritis for many sufferers.
As you can see there are a number of medications used for arthritis. However, every individual is different and they must find the best medication for arthritis mainly by trial and error. By keeping a good record of what seems to make the pain worse or better, the possibility finding a solution to the problem is greatly improved.