Arthritis Medications Standard
There are over 100 different types of arthritis, all of which require some degree of rehabilitation, treatment and comprehensive pain management. Each type has itís own peculiarities and varied treatment plans which important to successful rehabilitation. Arthritis medications, standard, are an integral part of these plans.
There is a list of arthritis medications, standard, from which you physician will chose in order to decrease the progression of the disease and manage your pain.
The first arthritis medications, standard, is acetaminophen (OTC Tylenol) which is recommended by the American College of Rheumatology and the American Geriatric Society as a first line of treatment for osteo arthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis. Acetaminophen works by decreasing pain as an analgesic. It is metabolized through the liver. If you have other medications that you are currently using that also metabolize in the liver, or if you have liver damage from past alcohol consumption you and your doctor may want to consider another medication.
Many people are able to take up to 4 grams per day of acetaminophen with minimal side effects. However, people with arthritis who require arthritis medications, standard, also may have other medical conditions that require medication. Before adding acetaminophen, or any other drug to your plan, consult with your doctor.
Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter drug but it is still a drug. Follow the labeled directions carefully and do not exceed the recommended doses. Acetaminophen can be toxic to your liver and do significant damage to your health that could be life threatening.
Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen fall into the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDís). Most NSAIDís are metabolized through the kidneys which are not as efficient at clearing toxins as the liver. Potential side effects of using these arthritis medications, standard, are heart attack, stroke, stomach ulcers and bleeding from the digestive tract.
The FDA has asked drug manufacturers of NSAIDís to include a warning label on the product with alerts for the increased risk for above disorders. Do not take these medications for more than one or two doses unless your doctor has specifically recommended them
Cyclo-oxygenase-2 or COX-2 inhibitors are drugs which block an inflammation enzyme called COX Ė2. This class of drug was initially believed to work just as the NSAIDís do but with fewer stomach issues. However after numerous reports of heart attacks and strokes from users the FDA re-evaluated the risks and benefits. Some of the COX-2 drugs are known as Vioxx and Bextra which have been withdrawn from the American market. Celebrex continues to be available but is labeled with strong warnings and recommendations to prescribe at the lowest possible doses for the shortest time possible.
Steroids, aka corticosteroids, suppress the immune system and the symptoms of inflammation. Very commonly used with osteo arthritis or degenerative arthritis. This group of arthritis medications, standard , can be given orally or by injection. They should be avoided at all cost for infectious arthritis since they suppress the immune system and will cause the infection to spread throughout the system.
Steroids have multiple side effects, including upset stomach, cataracts, gastrointestinal bleeding, thinning bones, increased infections, high blood pressure, increased appetite. These are noticed when the medication is taken for a long period of time.
Another group of arthritis medications, standard , are anti-rheumatic drugs have traditionally been used to treat Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders that cause arthritis. These drugs include gold salts, penicillamine, hydroxycholoquine and methotrexate. Methotrexate is highly toxic, requires frequent blood tests and is also used to treat cancer patients.
The last group of arthritis medications, standard , are anti-biologics. They are a recent breakthrough for treatment of rheumatoid type Arthritis. They are administered by injection and can dramatically improve the quality of life. Long term studies are still underway to understand the effects but the current research suggests they are successful. These include Humira, Enbrel, and Remicade.
Using any of these medications, including the over the counter type, should always be taken under the direction of your doctor and as prescribed. As harmless as aspirin or acetaminophen may appear they can do significant life-threatening damage.