Osteoarthritis Medications

Osteoarthritis is a medical problem which is characterized by the degradation of the joint cartilage. It is also called as degenerative joint disease. This occurs when the cartilage of the joint deteriorates and the fluids in it that make the motion of the joint smooth and frictionless slowly decreases in amount, and eventually it arrives to the point that movement is no longer possible because of the pain that is felt when the joint is moved. When this happens, the joint swells, reddens, becomes immobile, and the function of the joint is completely lost. This makes a person less capable to do work, limited in his movements, and his entire life may be compromised.

Although this is the most common form of arthritis, there are still many people who do not know how to manage it or to prevent it. However, there are a lot of causes of the degenerative joint disorder like heredity, injuries, autoimmune disorders, and aging. The disease is also usually associated with old age, but there are a lot of younger people from age 40 and above that can develop the joint disorder.

There are a lot of treatments for this joint problem, but most of them do not really provide real cure. They are only used to eliminate the pain that is experienced because of the disease. Most of these are analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and pain killers. Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen and ketoprofen are the most common NSAIDs for osteoarthritis. Aspirin contains salicylic acid that is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce the swelling of the joint. Ibuprofen is a known pain killer and it is relatively safe even for pregnant and nursing women, but a doctor’s advice should always be sought. Acetaminophen comes in the most common form as paracetamol, and is a common analgesic and antipyretic. Ketoprofen is a variation of ibuprofen, while naproxen sodium is also an anti-inflammatory agent. Most of these drugs are only advisable for short-term use as they can exhibit adverse side effects after a long period of intake. Some of these may include ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, nausea, dizziness, and even dependence.

There are also stronger medications which need a doctor’s prescription in order to be bought in a drugstore. Corticosteroids and opioids are some of these. Corticosteroids are hormones which are produced in the adrenal cortex. The form of steroids used for osteoarthritis is glucocorticoids, which are anti-inflammatory agents that prevent the release of phospholipids, and decreasese eosinophil actions. Opioids are chemicals which reduce the perception of pain by the brain through binding to opioid receptors which are found in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. The chemicals have analgesic effects that can relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. These drugs are very strong and can have very adverse effects to the health of the individual, which is why these drugs are not advisable to be used for a long period of time.

COX-2 inhibitors which are also more known as celecoxib are used for the treatment of osteoarthritis. These have the same anti-inflammatory effects as NSAIDs but they have less adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract. However, they do have other side effects that may be harmful to the health.

There are a lot of medications for osteoarthritis, but one should always remember that self-medication is never advisable. For one, osteoarthritis is only one of the many forms of arthritis and there are many other forms of the joint disease which can exhibit the very same symptoms. Also, if you are taking other medications, some osteoarthritis medications may have contraindications that you may not know of, and result to the endangerment of your health instead of treating the joint disorder. Therefore, you should always seek the advice of a doctor first before taking any medicinal drugs.