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Drug Types Used for Handling Arthritis Pain

Updated on January 25, 2018

Arthritis medication

Medications for pain relief

The famous medications that are used for pain relief are paracetamol and aspirin. Analgesics of opioid type comprises of these drugs.


Low dose codeine is available in the form of over-the-counter medication. The higher doses of codeine are available with the help of a prescription. Codeine is usually taken along with paracetamol.

Other Analgesics

Morphine, tramadol, di-hydro codeine, pethidine, buprenorphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and diamorphine are a few analgesics that are usually available through prescription. The doctor will share with the patient the benefits and risks associated with these medications and the way they interact with the other drugs. If the person is using any over-the-counter medications and especially analgesics, it is essential for him/her to bring it to the doctors’ notice.

Anti-inflammatory medications

The drugs that belong to this category will be able to reduce the pain along with the inflammation. Drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are classified under this group. These drugs have to be administered for a longer period to effectively show the results. But, they can cause problems in the stomach and cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Some of the NSAIDs that are commonly used are naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, indomethacin, etc. Two NSAIDs called Cox-2 inhibitors named celecoxib and etoricoxib, beneficial in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are known to have lower risks towards gastrointestinal bleeding

Disease-modifying Anti-rheumatic drugs

The NSAIDs and corticosteroids are called ‘first-line’ medications that can help in relieving pain and inflammation in the joints. These drugs are not observed to be helpful in stopping the deformity and destruction of the joint. The most damaging stage of rheumatoid arthritis can be handled effectively by the medications other than NSAIDs and corticosteroids. Those drugs are called as ‘second-line’ medications. The second-line drugs take longer time for bringing the results at different dosages. If these drugs are effective, they tend to revert the progression of the joint deformity and destruction. In some cases, more than one second-line drugs are used in combination to show better results.

Hydroxychloroquine is quinine medicine that is used in the treatment of malaria. This drug is also found to be useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis for a longer duration. The side effects of this drug include skin rashes, vision changes, stomach upset and muscle weakness. Some of the drugs under this category are leflunomide, sulfasalazine, etanercept, adalimumab, penicillamine, etc.

Biological response modifiers

The substances that help the body to modify the response towards the disease and infection belong to this category. The body secretes tiny amounts of these substances naturally. The researchers or scientists will be able to synthesize these substances in the lab in large quantities which can be beneficial in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and other diseases. The biological therapy makes use of biological response modifiers such as interferon, monoclonal antibodies, many colony stimulating factors and interleukin-2. The interferon and interleukin-2 are examined for the advanced malignant melanoma therapy. Interferon is currently used in the treatment of hepatitis C. Some of the side effects of these biological response modifiers are symptoms like fever, appetite loss, vomiting, nausea, and pain in the muscles, etc. Enbrel, Humira, Kineret, orencia, remicade are some of the BRMs.

Para-Medical Tips for Arthritis Pain Relief

Alternative remedies like topical medication, meditation, electrical stimulation etc., can help improve the pain in the joints. Warm water application at the pain site, hypnosis are some more pain management techniques other than drugs that help alleviate arthritis pain.

The joints can be massaged softly by himself or in the treatment room of the physical therapy clinic. The damaged joints and muscles can be soothened by the massage. Lifestyle can be altered to have less pain and stress and can help in bringing back happiness, success and mind-body health. Exercise, physical therapy, self-management, spa therapy, acupuncture and joint alignment devices are some of the non-drug therapies that can help bring relief to the arthritis pain.

Knee band helps in further damage of the painful knee that is already suffering with arthritis from any sudden jerks or jumps.


This article is just an information or knowledge given to the readers in the relevant area and not a suggestion or substitute for the doctor's prescription. It is important that the readers have to consult doctor if they have any health problem irrespective of the information given in this article.

© 2014 Haripriya Munipalli


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