Arthritis Medications

Many over-the-counter medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen (common anti-inflammatory drugs) may be used to effectively control pain and inflammation in arthritis. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be used to effectively control pain. However, these drugs need to be used with care, as they all have possible side-effects of causing damage to the stomach lining and the kidneys (or the liver in the case of acetaminophen). Recently, prescription anti-inflammatory medications such as Celebrex and Vioxx have become available which have a much lower risk of stomach lining damage. The risk is still there, however, and so these drugs too need to be used with care.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are often recommended by many naturopaths, and increasingly, by many mainstream physicians as well. They are naturally-occurring nutrient substances that form the building blocks of cartilage. They are available at health food stores or supermarkets without a prescription. Early studies indicate that these compounds are quite safe and may improve symptoms relating to arthritis.

Injections of liquid cortisone directly into the joint may temporarily help to relieve pain and swelling. It is important to know, however, that repeated frequent injections into the same joint can damage the joint and have undesirable side effects.