Prescription Drugs: Medications for Arthritis

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NSAID Arthritis Medications

With so many types of treatable arthritic conditions that exist (currently well over 100), as one might expect, a vast array of prescription drugs & medications have been created to remedy the many forms of joint pain caused by arthritis. Among the most commonly prescribed arthritis medications are the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These fall under the analgesic category of drugs, which involves any medication used to treat pain. There are different types of NSAID drugs, though they share the common purpose of inhibiting the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme, which can produce high levels of pro-inflammatory (as opposed to anti-inflammatory) prostanoids in areas where there is joint inflammation, exacerbating the problem. Common NSAIDs used to treat arthritis include Motrin, Advil, and Aleve. These medications should be taken with meals, and one should be careful not to take more than one NSAID medication at a time - regardless of whether they are over the counter or prescription drugs. Narcotic drugs may be prescribed for tandem use with NSAIDs. While narcotics do treat pain due to arthritis, they do not actually work to relieve joint inflammation. One should take these arthritis medications under the close supervision of a doctor, as drug dependency is a danger associated with taking narcotics.

Corticosteroid Prescription Drugs for Arthritis

Another form of prescription drugs & medications used to treat arthritides is the corticosteroid. A non-sex hormone, corticosteroids should not be confused with anabolic steroids, which are drugs most commonly associated with athletes. Corticosteroids are quite legal and have effectively been shown to treat the joint inflammation effects of arthritis. Examples of corticosteroid prescription drugs include Decadron, Medrol, Cortef, and Orasone. The dosages of these drugs vary depending on the type of arthritis condition being treated. These prescription drugs & medications do have potential side effects, such as cataracts, hardening of the arteries, mood swings, and muscle weakness. It is dangerous to stop taking such drugs in an abrupt or sudden fashion. If you are taking a prescription corticosteroid and are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek the advice of your doctor about alternative prescription drugs and medications.

DMARD Arthritis Prescription Medications

Another prescription treatment for arthritis is Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs, also known as DMARDs, which are taken to treat joint-damaging arthritides, such as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. Ridaura, Imuran, and Plaquenil are commonly used DMARDs. It is important to note that many of these prescription drugs & medications have varying conditions under which they should be taken. Improper use of DMARDs can lead to harmful side-effects. Additionally, for arthritis of the knee, Hyaluronan Injections (or viscosupplementations) may be used for treatment. In an effort to relieve joint inflammation of the knee, the joint is directly injected with the drug, effectively treating pain.


Talk to your doctor about the prescription drugs and medications available to treat your arthritis.

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