- What Are They?
- Drug Types
- Uses & Side Effects
- Warnings & Precautions
- Best Treatment
- What Is OA?
- Causes & Risk Factors
What are osteoarthritis medications?
Osteoarthritis medications are drugs used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, a painful condition that affects joints. Medications cannot cure osteoarthritis, but provide symptom relief and may halt or slow down the progression of the disease, and prevent joint damage.
Medications used to treat osteoarthritis relieve pain, reduce inflammation in the joints, and prevent the complications that arise from osteoarthritis. Currently, there are no effective disease-modifying medications to treat osteoarthritis.
The most commonly used medications in the management of osteoarthritis include
What are the types of osteoarthritis medications?
The different types of medications prescribed for osteoarthritis help alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. The types of medications used in osteoarthritis treatment include:
How do osteoarthritis medications work? Side Effects
Analgesics provide pain relief but do not affect swelling or inflammation. Analgesics include two types, opioid and non-opioid. Some non-opioid medications are available over the counter, but stronger medications need a prescription. Opioid analgesics are more potent painkillers than non-opioid ones, but carry a high risk for addiction.
Analgesics used to treat osteoarthritis include:
- Non-opioids drugs such as:
- Opioids such as:
- Topical applications and pain patches such as:
- Capsaicin (Zostrix cream, Qutenza pain patch)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs block the production of inflammatory chemicals and reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain from osteoarthritis. NSAIDs do not prevent the progression of the disease or joint damage. Anti-inflammatory drugs used for osteoarthritis include:
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Piroxicam (Feldene)
- Meloxicam (Mobic)
- Diclofenac sodium (Voltaren)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Naproxen sodium (Naprosyn, Aleve, Anaprox DS)
- NSAID/calcium channel blocker
A combination formulation of NSAID and calcium channel blocker reduces pain and inflammation, and in addition, lowers blood pressure. The FDA-approved combination NSAID/calcium channel blocker drug for osteoarthritis patients with hypertension is:
- Celecoxib/amlodipine besylate (Consensi)
Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory drugs that may be prescribed as tablets or injections in the joints. Corticosteroid injections administered in the joints reduce osteoarthritic knee pain within a week after the injection and the effects may last up to six weeks or more. Extended-release injections may provide pain relief for up to 12 weeks.
Corticosteroids prescribed for osteoarthritis include:
- Triamcinolone acetonide extended-release injectable solution (Zilretta)
- Triamcinolone acetonide injectable solution (Kenalog-40)
- Methylprednisolone (Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol)
- Betamethasone acetate (Celestone Soluspan)
Muscle relaxers or relaxants relax the muscles by inhibiting the nerve signals to break the pain-spasm reaction in the muscles. Muscle relaxants are useful as adjunct therapy to reduce diffuse and chronic pain from osteoarthritis. Muscle relaxants used for osteoarthritis include:
SNRI antidepressants increase the level of hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain by preventing their reabsorption by the brain cells. The higher levels of these hormones help reduce chronic pain from osteoarthritis. The SNRI medication approved by FDA for chronic musculoskeletal pain is:
Hyaluronic acid is a component of synovial fluid, the natural lubricant of joints. A substitute lab-produced lubricant approved by FDA specifically for injection into the knee joints is:
- Hyaluronic acid (Euflexxa, Hyalgan, Orthovisc)
Medications that help prevent bone loss from osteoporosis include:
Certain oral dietary supplements are thought to reduce osteoarthritis pain, but studies do not show a significant benefit and they are not regulated by FDA. It is important to check with the doctor before taking such supplements.
The dietary supplements commonly used singly or in combination include:
- Chondroitin sulfate
Warnings and precautions
- Please visit our medication section of each drug within its class for more detailed information.
- If your prescription medication isn’t on this list, remember to look on MedicineNet.com drug information or discuss it with your healthcare provider and pharmacist.
- It is important to discuss all the drugs you take with your doctor and understand their effects, possible side effects, and interaction with each other.
- Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting with your doctor.
What is the best treatment for osteoarthritis?
Effective treatment for osteoarthritis may involve a combination of lifestyle modifications, medications, and other therapies, depending on the severity of the condition. Weight reduction and physical activity are important components of osteoarthritis management. Surgical procedures may be required to treat severe stages of osteoarthritis.
10 Treatments for osteoarthritis include the following:
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Assistive devices such as splints or braces for the affected joint
- Joint injections
- Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Surgical therapies such as:
- Joint repair
- Joint fusion
- Joint replacement
- The latest treatments under investigation for osteoarthritis include stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections into the joint to promote cartilage growth.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease in which the cartilage, a rubbery tissue that acts as a cushion between bones in joints, gradually breaks down. The breakdown of cartilage causes joint inflammation. The loss of the protective cushioning eventually leads to bones in the joints rubbing directly against each other, resulting in pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, which is a broad term for more than 100 types of joint diseases. Arthritic diseases affect joints, muscles, bones, and structures around the joints such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative type of arthritis that worsens over time if untreated and can lead to chronic pain, joint deformity, and disability. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint including finger joints, which is common, but predominantly the disease affects weight-bearing joints such as:
- Neck region (cervical) of the spine
- Lower back
Common symptoms from osteoarthritis in the joints include:
- Pain and stiffness
- Redness and warmth
- Tenderness and swelling
- Creaking, locking, and reduced range of motion
- Weakness and wasting of muscle around the joints
- Bone spur development
Osteoarthritis causes and risk factors
Osteoarthritis most often starts in middle age, though it can also occur at a younger age. Osteoarthritis is more common in women than men, possibly because of weight gain and other bodily changes that happen with menopause in many women.
The most common risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
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Related Disease Conditions
Which Foods Make Arthritis Worse?
Foods that may worsen arthritis include processed foods, salt, red meat, and alcohol. Check out the center below for more medical references on arthritis, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also known as degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis can be caused by aging, heredity, and injury from trauma or disease.
Osteoarthritis vs. Osteoporosis Differences and Similarities
Arthritis is defined as painful inflammation and joint stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis and the most common cause of chronic joint pain, affecting over 25 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that involves the entire joint. Osteoporosis is not a type of arthritis. It is a disease that mainly is caused by a loss of bone tissue that is not limited to the joint areas. It is possible for one person to have both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The differences in the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis include; pain, stiffness, and joint swelling, joint deformity, crackle sounds when the joint is moving, and walking with a limp. Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because it can progress for years without signs and symptoms before it is diagnosed, severe back pain, bone fractures, height loss, and difficulty or inability to walk. The differences in the causes of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are that osteoarthritis usually is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Osteoporosis usually is caused by one or more underlying problems, for example, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. Treatment for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are not the same. There is no cure for osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
Arthritis in Knee: 4 Stages of Osteoarthritis
Painful joint swelling is called arthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to wear and tear of the joints over many years. Arthritis maye develop in any joint, including the fingers, hips and knees. Usually, patients with arthritis feel pain in their joints even after moderate movements. There are four stages of osteoarthritis of the knee.
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are chronic joint disorders. RA is also an autoimmune disease. OA and RA symptoms and signs include joint pain, warmth, and tenderness. Over-the-counter pain relievers treat both diseases. There are several prescription medications that treat RA.
What Is the Main Cause of Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic degenerative disease of the joints affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It involves the breakdown of cartilage and associated inflammatory changes in the adjacent bone. It is a leading cause of chronic disability, affecting 30 million people in the United States alone.
Osteoarthritis and Treatment
Painful swelling of the joints due to wear and tear over many years is called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis may develop in any joint that includes the fingers, hips, and knees. There are many treatment options available to curb the complications of arthritis.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Osteoarthritis FAQs
- Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis
- Osteoarthritis 2002 Arthritis Conference Report
- Osteoarthritis: 2004 Perspectives
- Osteoarthritis - Vitamin D May Prevent Progression
- Are Women More Susceptible to Osteoarthritis?
- Can You Get a Cartilage Transplant?
- What Is Cervical Osteoarthritis?
- What Is the Prognosis for Osteoarthritis?
- What Kind of Joint Injections Treat Osteoarthritis?
- What Are the Side Effects of Glucosamine?
- What Causes Arthritis and Baker's Cyst?
- Can You Be Too Young for a Knee Replacement?
- What Causes Early Onset of Hip Osteoarthritis?
- Osteoarthritis of the Hands
- Osteoarthritis vs. Carpal Tunnel: What's the Difference?
- Can You Prevent Osteoarthritis?
- Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Medications & Supplements
- Side Effects of Celebrex (celecoxib)
- Diprolene Lotion (betamethasone dipropionate)
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
- Vimovo (naproxen and esomeprazole magnesium)
- Pennsaid (diclofenac sodium)
- Vivlodex (meloxicam)
- Duexis (ibuprofen and famotidine)
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.