Despite availability of a wide range of anti-arthritis medications, finding the most effective and safest drug for treating arthritis is quite difficult. The first line medications for arthritis usually comprise of pain relief drugs. They are considered safe when used in the smallest dosage for a limited period, usually for up to six months. However, prolonged use of higher doses of the drug increases the risk of side effects.
The second line drugs for arthritis, although effective, are linked to side effects that are more serious. However, the newer generation drugs are considered safer than the older generation immunomodulatory drugs that work by suppressing the immune system. Nonetheless, adverse side effects can be avoided by taking these drugs strictly under medical supervision.
Some Of The Most Effective Yet Safest Arthritis Medications Include
Acetaminophen is considered the safest pain relief medication for arthritis. It can be used for long-term pain management. For controlling persistent arthritis pain, you can take an acetaminophen tablet of regular strength, four to six times a day. However, your daily intake of acetaminophen should not exceed 4 grams a day.
Another safe yet effective medication for arthritis is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called ibuprofen. Available over-the-counter, ibuprofen helps to reduce inflammation and pain. For treating arthritis, you can take 300 to 800 mg of ibuprofen every six or eight hours.
The safest maximum dose of ibuprofen is 3200 mg a day. Ibuprofen is considered safe for children suffering from juvenile arthritis. Usually 20 to 40 mg/kg of ibuprofen divided into three to four smaller doses are used for treating juvenile arthritis.
Aspirin is recognized as a safer medication for treating arthritis in adults. It provides fast relief from mild to moderate inflammation and pain. Aspirin, just as other NSAIDs, may increase the risk of developing ulcers in the stomach and intestine. However, this possible adverse effect of the drug can be avoided by consuming aspirin with food. Aspirin tablets of regular strength can be taken up to six times a day. Higher doses are usually needed for reducing rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups. However, the maximum dose of the drug should not excess 6000 mg a day.
Topical Pain Relief Medications
Topical pain relief medications are considered as safer alternatives to oral arthritis medications. Available in the form of ointments, creams or sprays, these effective anti-arthritis medications usually contain salicylates, capsaicin, eucalyptus oil, camphor or menthol.
Salicylates are aspirin-like compounds. Topical creams containing salicylates directly work on the painful area of the body without affecting the other parts of the body. Most of the side effects of oral aspirin can be avoided by using topical salicylate-based medications.
Topical versions of other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, pirixicam, diclofenac are also available for treating arthritis pain. Only a small amount of NSAID cream should be used for reducing the pain. Applying too much cream increases the level of the NSAID in the blood, thereby increasing the risk of side effects. Capsaicin is the most effective topical pain relief medication. The compound extracted from hot chili peppers works by temporarily blocking the chemical that transmits pain signals to the brain.
The cooling effect of camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil helps to reduce the sensation of pain.