What are some over the counter painkillers that can manage the pain of arthritis? Whether you have gouty, rheumatoid, or osteoarthritis, these will surely help. Remember though that pain management is usually just that – first line symptomatic treatment of pain. It does not directly treat the underlying cause. So, if symptoms persist, we suggest that you consult your primary care physician or your orthopedic surgeon.
Whether you have gouty arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis, these painkillers can ease the pain. However, as mentioned earlier, if you take these OTC drugs and notice no improvement, we advise seeking consult to a health professional. Another thing you should remember is some types of arthritis are best treated with specific prescription drugs and not the OTC ones. For example, physicians usually prescribe steroids and purine-lowering agents to those with rheumatoid and gouty arthritis, respectively.
Aspirin relieves mild pain and fever. Also known as acetylsalicylic acid, it belongs to a family of related drugs called salicylates. It is available orally under many brand names, including Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin, and St. Joseph. Some of its adverse drug reactions include stomach pain, heartburn, indigestion,nausea, and vomiting. Stomach irritation can lead to ulcers and bleeding in the stomach if taken on a chronic basis. You can reduce the risk of stomach problems by taking aspirin with food or milk.
Acetaminophen also relieves pain and fever and is therefore appropriate for mild to moderate arthritis pain as well. Tylenol is the most popular brand. Acetaminophen is also the active ingredient in many products labeled “aspirin-free pain reliever” or “non-aspirin pain reliever.” Some rare but reported side effects of acetaminophen include dizziness, appearance of a rash, itching, hypersensitivity reactions, and edema or swelling.
Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs work similarly with aspirin to ease joint pain. It has molecules that inhibit the formation of inflammatory mediators that cause pain and swelling. Although there are more than a dozen NSAIDs available by prescription, only two are currently available over the counter: ibuprofen ( Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen sodium ( Aleve). Use of NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly in higher doses. However, the most common side effects of NSAIDs are heartburn, indigestion, abdominal or stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.