There are basically dozens of medications which are available over the counter and through prescription in treating the different forms of arthritis. Your physician will help you in selecting what drugs are best for your particular disease.
Topical Pain Relievers
These topical drugs can be helpful in providing relief of pain for persons with arthritis which are present in some joints like the hand or for persons with pain which is not severe.
Anti-inflammatory Painkillers (NSAIDS)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS can be obtained both over the counter and through prescription. Practically everyone with arthritis has already taken or is using one of these drugs. Prescribed dosages are helpful in controlling inflammation of the joint.
Other Pain-Relieving Arthritis Drugs
Acetaminophen is accessible over the counter and is typically used in the relief of pain to people with arthritis. Narcotic pain relievers can also be obtained only through prescription and can be used in helping people with very severe pain. But these will not provide relief for joint inflammation. Oftentimes, they are combined with acetaminophen or an NSAID in order to enhance their effects. The intake of narcotic drugs could be habit-forming and they will result to urinary problems, sedation and constipation.
Your physician will recommend the use of antidepressants to help in treating chronic pain regardless of whether you are experiencing depression or not. Though it is not precisely clear how antidepressants will help in controlling the pain but there is an important role of the antidepressant effect on the brain chemicals. Side effects can range from drowsiness to drying of mouth as well as blurred vision. These drugs will seldom lead to changes in mood or suicidal thoughts.
Arthritis and Steroids
Steroids are potent anti-inflammatory drugs which are able to treat many kinds of arthritis which include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other kinds of inflammation like vasculitis.
Even if this is effective, steroids will have a lot of side effects particularly when consumed as a pill and to be used for a long period of time. Oftentimes, physicians are trying to avoid these problems by way of injecting the steroid in the joint that is affected or by using other medications in combination in order to maintain the dosage of steroids as low as possible.
There are a good number of versions of hyaluronan injections which are also termed as viscosupplementation. These are used in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. They are directly injected to the joint affected. They have shown to minimize the pain which is affected by osteoarthritis and to increase mobility as well as allow more activity.
Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
These drugs are frequently capable of altering the course of several forms of inflammatory arthritis diseases like psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis which will destroy the joints. Normally, these drugs will be first to use for these diseases.
DMARDS work by way of interfering or suppressing the immune system which will attack the joints in individuals with certain kinds of inflammatory arthritis. One or more DMARD will be used as a form of aggressive treatment of arthritis.
Despite its effectiveness, DMARDs have increased risk of grave side effects. Usually, it will take weeks to be able to notice the benefits of using DMARD. Thus, these are frequently combined with a faster working medicine like the NSAID, another kind of painkiller or steroids which can help in relieving some of the symptoms of arthritis.
Biologic Therapy for Arthritis
Biologic response modifiers are approved for the treatment of some forms of inflammatory arthritis like ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. They work by changing the function of the immune system which will attack the joints.
These medications can be administered through intravenous infusion in the vein or through injection. Both of these are more expensive when compared to other medications for arthritis.
Traditionally, chemotherapy is used in treating cancer. However, these drugs are valuable in helping persons with some autoimmune and diseases considering that it will slow cell reproduction and will lessen the use of some products produced by these cells which will make inflammatory response to take place. The dosages of medications which are used for treating rheumatic or autoimmune conditions are lower in comparison to the dosages which are used for the treatment of cancer.