Is there a cure for arthritis? The best treatment for arthritis
NSAIDs are among the most commonly used RA drugs. Unlike other pain relievers, NSAIDs seem to be more effective in treating symptoms of RA. This is because they prevent inflammation.
Some people use OTC NSAIDs. However, stronger NSAIDs are available with a prescription.
Side effects of NSAIDs include:
- stomach irritation
- erosion or burning a hole through your stomach or intestines
- stomach bleeding
- kidney damage
In rare cases, these side effects can be fatal (cause death). If you use NSAIDs for a long time, your doctor will monitor your kidney function. This is especially likely if you already have kidney disease.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, Nuprin)
OTC ibuprofen is the most common NSAID. Unless instructed by your doctor, you should not use ibuprofen for more than several days at a time. Taking this drug for too long can cause stomach bleeding. This risk is greater in seniors.
Ibuprofen is available in prescription strengths as well. In prescription versions, the dosage is higher. Ibuprofen may also be combined with another type of pain drug called opioids. Examples of these prescription combination drugs include:
- ibuprofen/hydrocodone (Vicoprofen)
- ibuprofen/oxycodone (Combunox)
Naproxen sodium (Aleve)
Naproxen sodium is an OTC NSAID. It’s often used as an alternative to ibuprofen. This is because it causes slightly fewer side effects. Prescription versions of this drug offer stronger dosages.
Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, St. Joseph)
Aspirin is an oral pain reliever. It’s used to treat mild pain, fever, and inflammation. It can also be used to prevent heart attack and stroke.
When OTC NSAIDs don’t relieve your RA symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a prescription NSAID. These are oral drugs. The most common options include:
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- ibuprofen (prescription-strength)
- nabumetone (Relafen)
- naproxen sodium (Anaprox)
- naproxen (Naprosyn)
- piroxicam (Feldene)
Other NSAIDs include:
- diclofenac (Voltaren, Diclofenac Sodium XR, Cataflam, Cambia)
- indomethacin (Indocin)
- ketoprofen (Orudis, Ketoprofen ER, Oruvail, Actron)
- etodolac (Lodine)
- fenoprofen (Nalfon)
- ketorolac (Toradol)
- mefenamic acid (Ponstel)
- meloxicam (Mobic)
- oxaprozin (Daypro)
- sulindac (Clinoril)
- salsalate (Disalcid, Amigesic, Marthritic, Salflex, Mono-Gesic, Anaflex, Salsitab)
- tolmetin (Tolectin)
Diclofenac/misoprostol (Arthrotec) is an oral drug that combines the NSAID diclofenac with misoprostol. NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcers. This drug helps prevent them.
Topical capsaicin (Capsin, Zostrix, Dolorac)
Capsaicin topical OTC cream can relieve mild pain caused by RA. You rub this cream on painful areas on your body.
Diclofenac sodium topical gel (Voltaren 1%)
Voltaren gel 1% is an NSAID for topical use. This means you rub it on your skin. It’s approved to treat joint pain, including in your hands and knees.
This drug causes similar side effects to oral NSAIDs. However, only about 4 percent of this drug is absorbed into your body. This means that you may be less likely to have side effects.
Video: Rheumatoid Arthritis | RA Pain Relief Medication | Third Age
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