Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects millions of Americans. Characterized by inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues, arthritis symptoms can range from uncomfortable to debilitating. There are several types of arthritis, the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the break down of cartilage surrounding joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints. Gout, infections, psoriasis, lupus, and other diseases can also lead to forms of arthritis. Arthritis symptoms include: swelling, pain, varying degrees of stiffness, limited range of motion, and skin redness. Treatment is available in the form of prescription medications to relieve symptoms and improve joint performance. Below are the major categories of prescription medications for arthritis:
– NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
– Narcotic Painkillers
– Corticosteroids – Prednisone
– Hyaluronic Acid Substitutes
– Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
Analgesics relieve pain, but do not treat inflammation. Acetaminophen is the most commonly used analgesic and can be purchased over-the-counter in the from of Tylenol and Excedrin. Higher dosage acetaminophen in combination with other other drugs such as Oxycodone or Tramadol require a prescription. Brands names for analgesics: Codeine, Ultram, etc.
NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and reduce fever. There are three sub-groups of NSAIDs: traditional NSAIDs (Mobic/meloxicam), COX-2 inhibitors (Celebrex/celecoxib), and salicylates (choline magnesium salicylate). Prescription NSAIDs block COX enzymes that produce prostaglandin, the cause of joint inflammation.
Narcotic Painkillers relieve severe pain and are often combined with acetaminophen or NSAIDs to enhance the drug’s properties. They do not treat inflammation. Brands names for narcotic painkillers: Vicodin, Lorcet, codeine, etc.
Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that can be taken in tablet form to treat rheumatoid arthritis or injected into the joints to relieve osteoarthritis pain. Prednisone the most commonly prescribed corticosteroid, brand names include: Deltasone, Liquid Pred, Meticorten, etc.
Hyaluronic Acid injections are specifically approved for osteoarthritis in the knees. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body as a component of synovial fluid, lubricant that allows joints to easily glide against one another. Replacement of lost hyaluronic acid helps relieve joint pain and stiffness. Brand names of hyaluronic acid: Euflexxa, Hyalgan, Orthovisc, etc.
Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) act on the immune system to slow the progression and damage of rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate is the most commonly prescribed DMARD and the most effective. Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is given for milder symptoms.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Arthritis problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.