Arthritis is an inflammatory disorder that targets one or more joints. The total types of arthritis exceed 100 and are either related to wear and tear of the cartilage or inflammation linked with an overly active immune system. The reasons that lead to arthritis include traumatic injury, hereditary factors, direct or indirect consequences of bacterial, viral infection.
Also, the possibility of certain abnormalities in the metabolism pathway does exist. There are essentially four types of drugs that offer relief from the symptoms experienced in this disabling condition.
Medicines to Treat Arthritis
The most commonly used drugs for relieving pain in arthritis include Aspirin, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.
This medicine is mostly taken for pain and swelling associated with several types of arthritis. It is known as a Slicylate as well as a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. The mechanism of action of aspirin is to block cox enzymes, thus in turn not letting your body produce excessive prostaglandin, and ultimately helping in killing pain and lessening swelling. Keeping the patient’s condition in mind, doctor may recommend low dosage of the drug in order to prevent the occurrence of blood clots, which consequently curbs the risk of incurring a cardiac stroke.
If, however, you are having the drug for self treatment of arthritis, do follow each direction mentioned on the product package. In case of uncertainity, it is always better to seek medical consultancy and take it exactly as directed. Once you have orally ingested Aspirin with a glassfull of water (8 ounces), try not to lay down for a few minutes. Do not use the medication for more than ten days.
This medicine helps in a number of health conditions and arthritis (or rheumatoid arthritis) is one of them. It mainly belongs to the category of anti-inflammatory drugs but serves well as an analgesic drug too. Ibuprofen works by impeding the release of chemicals known as prostaglandins by blocking the cyclooxygenase enzyme which produces the afore mentioned chemical. As a result, some of the symptoms seen in arthritis such as pain, joint stiffness and increased body temperature are reduced.
Like other medicines, Ibuprofen may not be suitable for each patient and some of them should not use it. These are certain conditions in which one needs to be cautious while using Ibuprofen tablets. These include any stage of pregnancy, kidney or liver related problem, Crohn’s disease, hypertensive condition or heart problems.
Acetaminophen For Pain Relief
When arthritis pain strikes the affected joints, Acetaminophen is another drug that brings quick relief. It works as a pain killer and has no anti-inflammatory properties. It is an easily available over the counter drug for patients with arthritis. As the inflammatory process is consistently associated with arthritis, Acetaminophen does not prove to be the best solution for some of the patients. In case of severe arthritis pain wherein this drug alone, does not help much, a prescription Acetaminophen may be needed.
This prescription drug contains both acetaminophen combined with an opoid, for example, Codeine. The combined drug effect can, however, lead to certain adverse effects such as nausea, lightheaded feeling, vomiting or constipation. The maximum dose of Acetaminophen, available as either Tylenol, Panadol or Anacin, is 4000 mg(r 4 grams) in adults, and 90mg per kg for small children.
In case of this drug, the patient must not drive or handle heavy machinery while under the effect of the medicine. Even breastfeeding mothers or females trying to conceive must no take this medicine for arthritis pain relief.
Anti-Inflammatory Medicines For Arthritis
Anti-inflammatory drugs, undoubtedly, enhance the quality of life of the affected patients. This class of medicinal drugs includes some of the above mentioned drugs such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen along with Naproxen and COX 2 inhibitors, a new type of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
Conventional Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
These form the most common line of arthritic medicines and need to be taken for an extended period for the positive effects to show through. Do note, continued use can lead to stomach problems. Some of the drugs that fall in this category are Indomethacin, Diclofenac, Ketoprofen and Piroxicam. Irritation to the stomach lining, episodes of indigestion, gastrointestinal ulcerations and bleeding are some of the common complaints patients report to their doctor.
Selective Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
COX-2 inhibitors form the newer type of anti-inflammatory drugs which are suited for most of patients suffering from arthritis. Meloxicam and Celecoxib are the two coxib types that though potent than their counterpart, can put patients at risk of heart attacks.
Corticosteroids And Arthritis
Commonly termed as steroids, Prednisone works as a powerful anti-inflammatory drug. It can prove to be of great help in treating sever cases of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. These medicines can either be taken via the oral route or as injections into the affected joint. Even with carefully monitored dose and administration, there are potential side effects caused by its use. These include raised blood sugar, increased susceptibility to infection (due to lowered immunity), fluctuation in weight, and change in the rate of heartbeat.
These steroid injections form a treatment option in cases of Osteoarthritis involving the knee. Till date, there are 5 different versions f Hyaluronan injections (also called viscosupplementation). These are, namely, Hyalgan, Synvisc, Supartz, Orthovisc, Euflexxa and Synvisc-One. Although not a part of the first line of treatment for arthritis, it is directly injected into the inflamed knees of those patients who have failed to find adequate respite from pain, stiffness and tenderness from other conservative modes such as physical therapy or exercise. The treatment course of each of the 5 types of hyaluronan injection differs.
Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs
These slow acting disease modifying medications can be used for few forms of inflammatory arthritis such as psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis.
These interfere or suppress the working of the immune system that targets the joints and does not mask the symptoms. These drugs include Penicillamine, Azathioprine, Methotrexate and Sulfasalazine. This group of medication runs a higher risk of worrisome side effects.
Biologic Response Modifiers
This refers to recently introduced class of drug which was once indicated for extremely advanced cases of rheumatoid arthritis. With time, it has been advocated for use in early stages of the disease so as to check the long term joint damage. The modifiers target Cytokines which work as a chemical messenger that triggers inflammation. These are available in the form of an intravenous infusion or injection, but is, unfortunately, expensive as compared to other drugs.