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Arthritis Drugs

March 26, 2014

Arthritis Drugs

Arthritis drugs are usually what doctors prescribe to treat osteoarthritis.   Since people respond differently to different types of drugs it’s not always easy to predict how the medications will work.  Potential side effects and poor reactions have to be considered.  It’s not easy to find the right combination of drugs and medications to achieve optimum pain relief for any given patient.  If you have arthritis, you should know as much as possible about your treatment options so you can talk about it with your doctor.

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are prescribed a lot to treat OA. NSAIDs work by fighting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). COX comes in two forms: COX-1 and COX-2. NSAIDs can treat COX-1 and COX-2

DMARDs (Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs) can take weeks or months to start providing pain relief.  DMARDs may be slow acting but they work.  They treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.   These drugs can stop the progression of the disease and limit damage to the joints.

Corticosteroids are usually called “steroids”.  These are strong drugs that quickly reduce swelling and inflammation.   Doses can be all over the place depending on what’s being treated and how agressive the treatment plan is.   Harmful side effects are more likely at high doses or with long-term use.

Analgesics relieve pain. However, unlike NSAIDs, they don’t help with inflammation. Acetaminophen is  a common analgesic.

Pain Relief

Pain Relief From a Knee Brace


Knee braces for osteoarthritis have been used for over twenty years as a treatment for unicompartmental osteoarthritis.  There are published studies that prove a knee brace can relieve knee pain, reduce the amount of medications patients take for pain relief, increase knee function, and reduce the amount of load placed on the knee joint.  Unloading knee braces work best when the arthritis is affecting one side of the knee.  The brace will actually absorb some of the load placed on your knee joint by your body weight and also absorb some of the load so the affected compartment isn’t pinched.

A knee brace is not a cure.  This treatment option is meant to buy some time.  A knee brace can help your knee pain enough to get you up and moving.  If your knee doesn’t hurt you can take less medications.  See the big picture?  Wear the knee brace, reduce your knee pain, reduce the amount of medications you take, lose weight, postpone surgery…

A knee brace is an inexpensive treatment option that won’t hurt you.  Nobody has ever got sick or died from trying a knee brace.  Drugs and surgery have adverse side effects.  You know this.  Doing nothing and hoping your knee pain goes away by itself isn’t much of an option either.  By trying an unloading knee brace you are taking a proactive role in your healthcare.