Osteoarthritis is a condition where the cartilage that provides cushioning effect to the bones in joints wears out causing friction in the bones resulting in pain, swelling and inflammation of joints. It is found to be more common in older persons and people who are overweight or have injured their joints.
Though incurable, few lifestyle changes and medication can help relieve from osteoarthritis to a great extent. Resting and avoiding activities that inflict pain in the joints is considered one of the best ways to get rid of the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Exercising to strengthen the muscles and losing weight have also been identified as reliable ways for the same.
It is recommended that the drugs with the least side effects and lowest dosage are first opted if diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
- Acetaminophen: The mildest drug for treatment of osteoarthritis, acetaminophen helps reduce pain but cannot help get rid of the inflammation associated with it. It should be noted that the intake of alcohol must be limited while using this drug as it might be the causal reason for liver damage.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: These drugs are used when a patient doesn’t respond to acetaminophen. Found to be helpful in reducing both pain and inflammation, this drug has more side effects and prolonged use can cause kidney damage, heart attack and stroke.
- Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors: These type of drugs are also effective in relieving from the symptoms of osteoarthritis but have risk factors of kidney damage and heart disease associated with it.
In case of severe form of arthritis, opioid analgesics are used which though combat the severe pain, block neural receptors and might be addictive and harmful in the long run. Besides, if oral medications are not working well, corticosteroid injections and hyaluronic acid injections are used to provide temporary relief from the excruciating pain. However, it must be noted that the use of these drugs have innumerable side effects which can prove detrimental in the future.
Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.