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Side Effects of Common Arthritis Medications

Updated on January 1, 2011
Studies show that up to 30 percent of hospital admissions of elderly patients are linked to harmful effects of medications and other related problems.  Posted July 22, 2010
Studies show that up to 30 percent of hospital admissions of elderly patients are linked to harmful effects of medications and other related problems. Posted July 22, 2010 | Source

All arthritis medications have side effects and risks.

There is no such thing as completely safe drugs.

It is vitally important you know what you can expect from your rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and JRA medications.

The overall benefit of taking arthritis medications far outweighs the risk. But therapies need to be individualized.

Here Are Some Of The Side Effects You Should Know About

  • The DMARD Methotrexate, for example, can suppress your body's immune system -- it's used in larger doses in cancer chemotherapy.

  • The biologic DMARDs also weaken the immune system and have been linked to increased rates of infection and certain cancers.

  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), are have less sever side effects than DMARDs and are generally prescribed more often.

    • NSAIDs, such as celecoxib, (brand name Celebrex) and ibuprofen (brand names Advil, Genpril, Ibu-200, Midol, Motrin, Nuprin) works by reducing hormones that cause pain and inflammation.

    • COX-2 selective inhibitors are the newest subset of NSAIDs. COX-2 selective inhibitors were developed specifically to decrease the well-recognized gastric side effects and intolerance associated with the use of some NSAIDs arthritis medications.

    • Cetyl Myristoleale Complex, works like a NSAIDs but is safe for long term use and does not have the risks of NSAIDs.

  • Osteoarthritis does not necessitate DMARDs. Usually surgery and joint replacements are prescribed instead.

  • Aggressive treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis vary, but treating it aggressively can alleviate long term damage and distortions.

  • NSAIDs can increase your risk of life-threatening

    • cardiovascular problems, including heart attack or stroke.

    • They also increase your risk of stomach or intestines bleeding or perforation. These conditions can be fatal.

    • The risk will increase the longer you use them.

    • They offer no healing benefits as they only block the inflammation and pain.

    • When you stop taking them, they stop working.

  • The gastrointestinal effects of Celebrex can occur without warning and at any time.

  • Older adults may have a greater risk of serious gastrointestinal problems.

  • COX-2, like all other NSAIDs, provides only symptom relief.

  • Cetyl Myristoleale Complex supports bone and connective tissue repair, blocks joint inflammation and discomfortfrom stiff joints.

Chelsea Green, The politics and practice of sustainable living.
Chelsea Green, The politics and practice of sustainable living. | Source

To reduce the risks and to get the maximum benefit, YOU need to play an active role in choosing your treatment.

The overall benefit of taking arthritis medications far outweighs the risk. But therapies need to be individualized.

Take into consideration how aggressive the disease is now, and how agressive it is likely to become, as well as an assessment of other conditions in the patient's history, i.e.

* tuberculosis or a history of bad infections

* how long a patient has had arthritis

* the severity of arthritis symptoms

* cost of treatment

* patient preference regarding treatment

One of the best souce for information is  Although it is directed towards seniors, anyone interested in health and wellness will find useful information is committed to providing you with the information needed to live a healthy life. We are continuously staying updated on healthy eating, fitness and disease to make sure we provide you with the most current information available. However, we do recommend talking to your health care provider if you have any health problems or concerns. And don’t forget – NOW is always a good time to start making healthy changes.

No matter what your age, don't let arthritis make a prescription junkie out of you. Know your arthritis medications, know their side effects, and know how they interact with other medications you might be taking, whether over-the-counter or prescriptioned.

Learn what you can about natural treatment that can help cut down on the need for more aggressive drugs, exercise, eat right and do your best to keep positive.


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    • HealthyHanna profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Utah

      Thank You Panela. Beginning with arthritis is a journey. Sometimes it is good to have a quick review of what arthritis medications the doctors are talking about

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Hanna, This is an excellent on arthritic medications. I have been on most of them at one time or another and am still on low dose prednisone. I am better now than I was a couple of years ago. I believe it is because of dietary changes, mild exercise and stress reduction. Thanks for a great hub. Rated up.


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