Two of the major symptoms of arthritis are pain and inflammation. This means that if you would like to successfully manage arthritis, taking care of pain and inflammation would be the best place to start. The good thing is that there are lots of drugs that can be bought over-the-counter or prescribed that deal specifically with these two major symptoms of arthritis.
Here are the most common groups or families of drugs that are used to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
1. Acetaminophen. This is a common pain killer; but if you want it in very high doses, you have to get a prescription in most countries. In small doses, the ones that you get over the counter, acetaminophen is able to relieve pain but is not able to counter inflammation.
2. Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs are usually the first line of drugs that are prescribed when one has arthritis. This is because they are able to relieve pain as well as counter inflammation.
3. Narcotic pain killers. These are some of the strongest pain killers there are in the market. They are often the last line of pain killers that are given. This is because when used in large doses and over long periods of time, they could cause dependency. They relieve pain by acting directly on the receptors located on the nerve cells. They are very good in pain management but they do not reduce inflammation.
4. Corticosteroids. These may be synthetic or natural steroids that act on the pain receptors. They are often injected into the joints to relieve inflammation. Due to the profound effect that this family of steroids has on other areas of the body, they are often not recommended for use over 4 times a year. They can also be taken orally in the management of rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Hyaluronic Acid substitutes. This treatment is only for arthritis that affects the knees. The component of this drug is intended to replace the component that is involved in the nutrition and the lubrication of the joint.
6. Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs. These drugs have been shown to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis profoundly. They have also been shown to slow down the progress of the disease. In most cases these days, once a doctor confirms rheumatoid arthritis, a patient is put on this class of drugs.
Always Talk to a Doctor
The most important thing to remember is that we all respond in different ways to different drugs. It is therefore very important to talk to a qualified doctor before starting on any treatment regimen. Above all, all of these drugs have some kind of side-effects. Good thing is that there are many natural drugs and treatments available these days that can prove to be a great help in keeping the arthritis symptoms at bay.