Arthritis Meds: The Difference Between Prescription And Over The Counter
There are many arthritis medications on the market todayavailable over the counter in local drug stores, supermarkets and big box stores, and available by prescription. You and your doctor will decide which one is right for you, but we thought we would explain some of the different types of arthritis medicine to help you get started or to understand what a family member or other loved one may be taking.
Side Effects Of Nsaids
Use of NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly in higher doses. However, the most common side effects of NSAIDs are heartburn, indigestion, abdominal or stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. You can reduce the risk of side effects by taking the medicine with food or milk.
Other possible side effects include:
Treating Spinal Osteoarthritis May Take A Combination Of Therapies
Talk with your doctor about your neck and/or back pain to make sure your diagnosis is accurate and current. Remember that certain types of back problems are degenerative, meaning they may change, improve, or worsen with time. Management of your spinal arthritis pain may involve more than 1 medication or therapy. You have choices, and your doctor can work with you to find the right drug or combination of medications and therapies to ease your spinal osteoarthritis symptoms.
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What Is A Good Supplement For Joint Pain
Before you stock your medicine cabinet, heres a rundown of the most widely used over-the-counter treatments.
- OTC pain relievers. For swelling, the best solutions are general pain relievers that reduce inflammation and dont contain steroids. These pain medications are extremely common and include ibuprofen , naproxen and aspirin. OTC pain medications can help reduce pain, aches and/or inflammation. If youre taking other medications, be sure to consult your pharmacist before using any OTC pain relievers.
If you dont have swelling or inflammation, acetaminophen can help. Be careful to avoid drinking alcohol while taking acetaminophen, however, as it can cause liver damage.
- Topical treatments. Available in cream, spray, rub or gel forms, topical pain relievers are applied to the skin of the affected area to help reduce pain and swelling.
Medications that are applied directly to the sore area can include counterirritants that contain menthol or camphor, which counteract pain perceptions. These include products such as Icy Hot® and Biofreeze®.
The key ingredients active in these medicines include capsaicin and salicylates.
Dr. McElroy adds, Capsaicin is the chemical in chili peppers that give them their heat and interacts with your neurons to relieve pain, while salicylates have the same effects of aspirin.
In addition to traditional medication, heating wraps and pads can also be used to relieve joint pain and dont have serious side effects, says Dr. McElroy.
Orthotic Inserts And Braces
Some people find that wearing an orthotic insert, which fits into the shoe, or a foot or ankle brace helps to ease arthritis symptoms. By limiting the movement of the foot or ankle joint, an insert or brace may relieve pain and stiffness, making it more comfortable to walk.
Orthotic inserts are available in different sizes and levels of stiffness. They can be placed in the shoe to support different parts of the feet, depending on the location of your arthritis pain. Orthotic inserts help reduce the amount of stress put on arthritic areas of the foot by redistributing the weight of the body to other parts of the foot, providing pain relief.
Braces also come in different sizes and levels of support. Some are flexible and worn in addition to regular shoes, and others resemble a cast that covers part of the foot and ankle. NYU Langone doctors can advise you on the type of brace that best suits your lifestyle and the severity of your symptoms. If youre planning to spend the day in an environment that requires very little walking, for instance, a light brace may be all you need. If your job requires you to be on your feet all day, a brace with more support might be a better choice.
Some of the time, inserts and braces available at drugstores work well. If your doctor suggests that a brace or orthotic insert designed to fit the shape of your foot may be more effective, NYU Langone specialists can customize a brace or orthotic insert to ensure it provides the support you need.
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How To Use Pain Medications Properly
There are two types of over-the-counter pain medications that can be used for osteoarthritis. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever but not an anti-inflammatory. It may help with mild knee pain.
NSAIDs can be more effective because they both relieve pain and reduce inflammation. However, they come with potential side effects and risks. NSAIDs can irritate the lining of the stomach, which may lead to an ulcer or other stomach problems. They also can impair kidney function. Some NSAIDs can increase blood pressure. And theyve been linked to an increased risk for heart disease.
Because of the risks, Dr. Day cautions against using NSAIDs regularly over long periods of time. Instead, she uses NSAIDs for her patients in two ways. First, people who have a flare-up of pain can take them regularly for three to five days and then stop. Second, they can be used over the long term, but only occasionally, maybe a couple of times a week as needed.
If youre taking NSAIDs several times a day for long periods of time, Dr. Day advises reducing their use by maximizing the other treatment strategies. She also suggests trying a topical NSAID, such as diclofenac , which has fewer potential side effects.
Opioid pain relievers are discouraged for long-term treatment of chronic knee pain. The milder narcotic tramadol might be appropriate for occasional use in some people, says Dr. Day.
Supplements For Those With Mild Pain
The evidence for glucosamine and chondroitin is mixed, but they are safe. So it might be worth trying. However, people with a shellfish allergy may not be able to tolerate them. Any effect wont kick in right away. Dr. Day recommends trying it for six to eight weeks. If you notice improvement, great if not, then stop it, she says.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, and there is some evidence for its usefulness for painful knee arthritis. You can add turmeric to your food or take it as a supplement. It can thin blood, so people who take a blood thinning medication should not use turmeric.
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What Are The Best Treatments For Arthritis In The Hands
November 19, 2019 By Alex Hirsch
Arthritis can be disabling, especially when it is in the hands and fingers. It can prevent you from carrying out normal day-to-day activities such as work duties and preparing meals.
Arthritis is a common disease that causes pain and stiffness within joints, including the hand. Appropriate treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms, but they can include medications, therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and surgery.
Using Acetaminophen To Relieve Joint Pain
Acetaminophen is also the active ingredient in many products labeled “aspirin-free pain reliever” or “non-aspirin pain reliever.” To be sure what youâre getting in a medicine, read the ingredients.
Common Arthritis Medication For Pain Relief
- Tylenol is a pain reliever or analgesic drug. It can have side effects, especially if you take more that the recommended dosage
- Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug that is one of the Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs. Other NSAIDs are aspirin or naproxen . These drugs can have side effects on the stomach and heart
- Exercise is medicine. Exercise can relieve pain and research suggests it can also reduce inflammation
- Taking ibuprofen within two hours of low dose aspirin will completely stop the heart health benefit from the low dose aspirin.
Arthritis hurts. No matter which of a hundred faces your arthritis presents, you will endure varying levels of pain. Little wonder, then, that the medical community prescribes and the pharmaceutical companies produce medications to combat pain and the inflammation that produces pain and joint damage. Your first stop may be a pharmacy. Faced with numerous over-the-counter options, the first step in choosing what may be right for you is to know what the common brands are, what they do, and what they do not do. Talk to your pharmacist and doctor if you have hot swollen joints or numerous joints with pain, as you may have a form of arthritis that requires early aggressive treatment. The online tool Arthritis ID will give you more information. This is the link to the tool: http://arthritisiscured.org/resources/arthritis_id/ . Delaying proper medical assessment and treatment may be detrimental to your long-term health.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
If you prefer a natural approach to treating arthritis, or would like to explore complementary options, it’s imperative that you tell your healthcare provider what you want to try . There are many alternative treatment options that, while popular, are not verified for effectiveness and safety.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health , reports on the effectiveness of some CAM treatments for arthritis:
Be wary of dietary supplements or herbal treatments sold for arthritis relief. You could experience dangerous side effects or drug interactions and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that many are tainted with prescription drugs.
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Can Diet Help Treat Arthritis
Research suggests that following an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. A healthy diet can also lead to weight loss, which reduces stress and strain on joints. Gout, a form of metabolic arthritis, can be relieved by avoiding purines that can trigger gout flares.
Common Pain Relievers Carry Risks
Beware interactions, overdose from over-the-counter medications.
If you regularly or even occasionally turn to over-the-counter pain relievers to help take the edge off your arthritis pain, its important to consider any other medications you take. Even though nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen and the analgesic acetaminophen are easy to access without a prescription, they still carry risks of side effects. And, importantly, they have the potential to interact with other OTC or prescription medicines, says Donald Miller, PharmD, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at North Dakota State University.
They may alter or interfere with drugs you are taking in some cases. And if they contain the same or similar ingredients to your meds, taking them sets you up for potential overdose.
The risks depend on a number of factors, including the persons health and other conditions as well as the medication dose lower OTC doses generally are less likely to cause problems than higher prescription doses.
Nevertheless, Miller says, its important to be aware of possible interactions before you reach for an over-the-counter NSAID. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to clear up any concerns or questions, and always tell your doctor if you use OTC pain relievers or other medications or supplements to help prevent reactions and side effects.
OTC NSAIDs also have the potential to interact with:
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Side Effects Of Aspirin
You can reduce the risk of stomach problems by taking aspirin with food or milk.
Other possible risks of aspirin include:
If you have any of these effects, stop taking the medication and call your doctor.
Start Osteoarthritis Pain Medications Slowly
If you get to a point where you need medication to manage the pain of osteoarthritis, you should always begin with drugs that have the fewest side effects and stay on the lowest dose that provides relief. Your doctor also might recommend sprays or creams that you can apply to your skin on or near the affected joint.
Options to try first, according to NIAMS:
Acetaminophen . Generally, the first medication recommended for osteoarthritis treatment is acetaminophen. It relieves pain but does not reduce inflammation in the body. Acetaminophen is relatively safe, though taking more than the recommended dosage can damage your liver, according to the Food and Drug Administration . If you take acetaminophen regularly, you should also take care to avoid consuming more than two alcoholic drinks a day because the combination of acetaminophen and alcohol can increase your risk for liver damage.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . For people who don’t respond to acetaminophen, an NSAID is often prescribed at the lowest effective dose. Common over-the-counter NSAIDs include Advil and Motrin and Aleve . NSAIDs relieve pain and reduce inflammation, but they can trigger more side effects than acetaminophen. NSAIDs may lead to stomach upset and, with prolonged use, stomach bleeding and kidney damage may occur, warns the FDA. In addition, NSAIDs other than aspirin can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.
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Best Topical Cream For Arthritis Pain
You can purchase over-the-counter arthritis pain products without a prescription, but you should still consult your medical provider before using any product for the first time, especially if you are experiencing severe pain. Over-the-counter medications can cause side effects, may interfere with other medicines that you take and could pose a risk for health complications if you have certain conditions. Your health care provider can help you decide which over-the-counter pain relief products for arthritis are the best match for your needs. Always follow the directions for use provided by the manufacturer unless a health care professional gives you other advice.
What Otc And Prescription Drugs Treat Spinal Osteoarthritis
Over-the-counter and prescription medications for spinal arthritis are usually the same as those taken to treat joint-related arthritic pain in the hips and kneesunless the diagnosis is rheumatoid or another type of inflammatory arthritis. For patients with symptoms of pain or numbness affecting the arms or legs, a may be considered.
Today, people with spinal arthritis have access to different types of pain medications that can be taken or applied to relieve pain. Some require a doctor’s prescription, some do not. However, do not assume that just because a drug is available without a prescription, or over the counter, that it is safe for everyone.
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Pain And Other Symptoms Of Spinal Osteoarthritis
The intensity and type of pain people experience as a result of arthritis in the spine varies from mild to severe, and occasional to episodic to chronic. Each type of pain is treated differently. Of course, it is not uncommon for arthritic neck or back pain to be accompanied by other symptoms, such as tingling sensations, numbness, or muscle spasms. Learn more about the range of osteoarthritis symptoms.
The Most Important Piece Of The Puzzle
If youre overweight or obese, the most effective treatment is weight loss. This isnt surprising. Every extra pound of weight adds two to four pounds of excess pressure on your knees.
Losing weight is probably the most difficult part of the treatment puzzle, but its also the most important, says Dr. Day.
A weight loss program should include both diet and exercise. Some people have difficulty exercising to lose weight because their knees hurt. But any type of exercise can help, even strengthening the upper body.
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What Is The Active Ingredient In Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel
The active ingredient in Voltaren is diclofenac sodium, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug . It falls in the same category of ibuprofen and naproxen. Diclofenac sodium topical gel works by temporarily blocking the production of pain-signaling chemicals called prostaglandins to help provide relief.
How To Treat Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when the cartilage insulating the joints breaks down. With less protection, the joint area becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to chronic pain, swelling and stiffness. Although there is no cure for arthritis, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms from swollen and painful joints to improve your quality of life. Over-the-counter medications like arthritis cream and pain relief can be used as a part of an overall medical treatment plan for arthritis relief, and CVS makes it easy to buy them.
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Finding The Right Treatment For Arthritis Pain
Osteoarthritis, which is typically related to aging or injury, is the most common kind of arthritis3 and affects over 30 million Americans.4 Because osteoarthritis breaks down the healthy cartilage in a persons joints, it can cause pain, swelling, and reduced motion, most typically in the hands, knees, hips, or spine.5 Many find that using an arthritis medication is one way to manage the symptoms of pain, swelling, and reduced motion that osteoarthritis causes.6
Aleve Tablets Fast Acting All Day Pain Relief For Headaches Muscle Aches
- For 25 years, aleve has provided temporary relief of minor aches and pains due to backaches, muscular aches, headaches, minor arthritis and other joint pain, menstrual pain, toothaches, and the common cold.
- Aleve is proven better and lasts longer on pain than tylenol.
- Use for minor arthritis pain.
- Data on file.
- Aleve is an over the counter , nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drug designed to deliver continuous pain relief at the site of pain.
- Only aleve works at the site of pain all day with just two pills.
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