What Are the Side Effects of Osteoarthritis Medicines?

Side Effects of Osteoarthritis Medications

Most medicines used to treat osteoarthritis have side effects, so it is important for people to learn about the medicines they take. Even nonprescription drugs should be checked.
As an example, the most common side effects of NSAIDs include:
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Heartburn
  • Dizziness
  • An unexplained rash.
Some less common, but serious, side effects of NSAIDs include:
(Click NSAIDs Side Effects for more information.)
There are also certain groups of people who may be at a higher risk of side effects while taking NSAIDs. These people should take NSAIDs with caution or not at all. Some of the conditions you should let your healthcare provider know about prior to taking them include:
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease, including congestive heart failure
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Liver disease or liver failure
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Bleeding problems (or if you are taking medicine that decreases your blood's ability to clot)
  • Diabetes
  • Nasal polyps
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus or SLE)
  • Stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, or a history of either condition
  • Any allergies to medicines, including aspirin or other NSAIDs.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
  • Are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant (see NSAIDs and Pregnancy)
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Drink alcohol frequently
  • Smoke
  • Are having or have recently had heart surgery.
(Click NSAIDs Warnings and Precautions for more information.)
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