Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as exercising sensibly, losing weight, changing your lifestyle and eating habits, etc. to alleviate effects of arthritis. But, in addition to these remedies, there are some medications that can relieve symptoms of arthritis, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, including pills, creams, lotions, or injections.
What are these drugs? What is their "working principle"?Painkillers:
These drugs reduce pain, but not inflammation. They work by changing how your body responds to pain. These include acetaminophen, tramadol, and prescription opioids such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, which, remember, are addictive.
If liver is functioning normally, the maximum daily dose of acetaminophen should be 4,000 milligrams (mg), too much can cause liver damage and even death.NSAIDs:
These drugs reduce inflammation and pain. These are one of most popular arthritis medications. Non-SAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and celecoxib, which are usually taken as tablets but can cause stomach upset or bleeding. Ensure maximum daily dose for each drug. Some can also be rubbed into joints as a lotion. Some NSAIDs may increase your risk of heart disease or stroke, and it's actually not recommended to take an NSAID if you have an "unhealthy condition" such as heart, liver, or kidney disease. NSAIDs are not narcotic and are not addictive.
Whether you take opioids or NSAIDs depends on your medical condition and your doctor's advice. One study found that opioids and NSAIDs were equally effective in treating osteoarthritis of knee, each reducing pain by about 30%.Cream:
These are creams and ointments containing ingredients such as menthol or capsaicin that cause pepper burning. Rubbing them into painful joints blocks pain signals from joints to brain.Glucosamine and chondroitin:
These are over-the-counter dietary supplements that are taken by mouth. Studies have shown no clear benefit, so taking them may or may not help you.Corticosteroids (steroids):
These are potent drugs (such as prednisolone and cortisone) that reduce joint and soft tissue swelling and suppress immune system. Your doctor may write you a prescription for a pill or an injection directly into painful area. This effect can be felt within a few days and will last for about 2 months.
Doctors say you shouldn't have more than four steroid injections a year, and you shouldn't take them indefinitely because corticosteroid injections can cause nerve damage and even more serious problems like cartilage breakdown.Hyaluronic acid:
The substance itself is in fluid in your joints and acts as a lubricant. However, in people with arthritis, hyaluronic acid breaks down, so your doctor may give you an injection of a lubricating fluid. Your doctor will inject it into painful area (usually knee) once a week for 3 to 5 weeks. Getting these shots can be an alternative to taking NSAIDs. However, unlike cortisol, it takes about 5 weeks to feel any pain relief.