Arthritis Medications

Analgesics (Pain Relievers)
Biological Response Modifiers (BRMs)
DMARDS: Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs
Fibromyalgia Medications
Glucorticoids (Cortisone-Related Drugs)
Gout Medications
NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs)
Osteoporosis Medications

Medically Reviewed by: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR

Analgesics: A drug that relieves pain. There are many types of pain medications. Some pain medications are actually combinations of drugs that work together to relieve pain. Some pain medications are available over-the-counter (without a prescription), such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen, or with a prescription, such as the narcotics oxycodone, propoxyphene, and codeine. Narcotic pain relievers can be habit-forming.


Brand Name Generic Name
Advil, Motrin, Medipren, Nuprin ibuprofen
Aspirin, Bayer, Ectorin aspirin
Darvon propoxyphene
Darvocet, Wygesic propoxyphene and acetaminophen
Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox, Aleve naproxen
Orudis, Oruvail ketoprofen
Oxycontin, Roxicodone oxycodone
Percocet, Roxicet, Tylox oxycodone and acetaminophen
Tylenol acetaminophen

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Biological Response Modifiers (BRMs)--also known as Biologic DMARDS (Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs):: Substances that modify the body's response to infection and disease. The body naturally produces small amounts of these substances. Scientists can produce some of them in the laboratory in large amounts for use in treating cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases.
BRMs used in biological therapy include monoclonal antibodies, interferon, interleukin-2 (IL-2), and several types of colony- stimulating factors (CSF, GM-CSF, G-CSF). Interleukin-2 and interferon are BRMs being tested for the treatment of advanced malignant melanoma. Interferon is a BRM now in use to treat hepatitis C.

The side effects of BRM therapy often include flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, muscle aches, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some patients develop a rash, and some bleed or bruise easily. Interleukin therapy can cause swelling. Depending on the severity of these problems, patients may need to stay in the hospital during treatment. These side effects are usually short-term and go gradually away after treatment stops.


Brand Name Generic Name
Enbrel etanercept
Humira adalimumab
Kineret anakinra
Orencia abatacept
Remicade infliximab

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