Using NSAIDs for Osteoarthritis

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs represent a large class of drugs that are useful against both pain and inflammation. These medicines are staples in arthritis treatment. NSAIDs are thought to work by blocking the action of certain hormones, called prostaglandins, that cause inflammation and pain in the body.
Many NSAIDs can be used as treatments of osteoarthritis. Some are available over-the-counter (for example, aspirin, Advil®, Motrin®, Aleve®, and ketoprofen). Other NSAIDs require a prescription.
Examples of NSAIDs that are osteoarthritis medications include:
While aspirin is an NSAID, there is not much research about using it for osteoarthritis pain.

Other Medications for Osteoarthritis

Depending on each person's particular situation, there are a number of other medicines that healthcare providers may prescribe for osteoarthritis. Some of these medicines include:
  • Mild narcotic pain relievers
  • Corticosteroids
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Creams, rubs, and sprays.
Mild Narcotic Pain Relievers
Medications containing narcotic analgesics, such as codeine or hydrocodone, are often effective against osteoarthritis pain. But because of concerns about the potential for physical and psychological dependence on these drugs, doctors generally reserve them for short-term use.
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