Video Q & A:

RA Medication Basics


How long does it take for pain relievers to help relieve rheumatoid arthritis suffering?

Expert:   Linda Russell, MD, Hospital for Special Surgery »

Anti-inflammatory drugs provide pain relief faster than DMARDs and biologics, but they don't slow the progression of your rheumatoid arthritis. Find out when you can expect to feel better while on them.

Transcript: There are several types of drugs that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and ease the pain it causes. For short-term, but quick relief, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, can ease inflammation, swelling and discomfort around your joints. Note that these medications only relieve short-term pain, but do nothing to treat the condition. If over-the-counter varieties are not strong enough, you may get a prescription NSAID or a cox-2 inhibitor such as celecoxib, which also is a fast-acting anti-inflammatory drug. They all have side effects, including gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems, so talk with your doctor about the benefits and the risks. Corticosteroids are another type of fast-acting pain reliever – but like NSAIDs, they only relieve pain, and do not treat rheumatoid arthritis. Prednisone, prednisolone and methyprednisolone all ease inflammation and pain for longer than NSAIDs, but because of their side effects are only used for short-term treatment. More »

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