People who suffer from arthritis pain would rejoice any drug or medicine that would make their pain go away. But of late, more and more arthritis medications are having to be reverted due to the issue of complicated side-effects they are bringing along with the cure.

Arthritis meds are a huge hit among most pharmaceutical companies today than the patients. In a bid to cash in on the requirement of these medicines, most companies are actually side-lining the side-effects that these medications can bring.

To minimize these unnecessary ramifications, your physician should prescribe low dosages. Also, your doctor needs to be informed about arthritis medicines you are already using. Serious side effects can only be detected through lab tests after consulting your doctor.

Vioxx and celebrex – Which One is Safer for Arthritis Treatment?

Two of the most prescribed drugs for treating rheumatoid arthritis are Celebrex and Vioxx. But, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already revoked Vioxx due to the harmful side-effects it was causing in patients of arthritis and other rheumatic pains.

Celebrex withdrawal symptoms

Post the Vioxx issue, the FDA has now decided to check on the potential withdrawal symptoms caused by Celebrex. Now, there has been a warning issued by the FDA about the harms this anti-inflammatory drug can cause in long-term users.

Celebrex dosage

  • The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Health have suggested that an intake of 400800 mg of Celebrex daily can increase the risk of heart attacks profusely. The FDA also has stated that liver damage, bleeding of the stomach ulcers, fluid retention and failure of kidneys are also potential adverse effects of this drug.
  • Despite the above suggested celebrex risks, it still is considered to be quite safe when compared to Vioxx, the reason which FDA has still not revoked it. On the brighter side, the benefits of celebrex drug outweigh the side-effects.

Doctors have to be careful while prescribing celebrex medication to patients.

The Dangerous Vioxx Side-Effects

Vioxx was revoked by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September, 2004. The adverse Vioxx side-effects were seriously outweighing the benefits of the drug in arthritis patients. Prior to its withdrawal from the market, Vioxx was highly prescribed for treating acute pains in arthritic people.

A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-Vioxx belongs to the COX-2 inhibitors category of the NSAIDs. This particular NSAID posed a potential risk of strokes or heart attacks among its users. This has led the FDA to keep a close eye on certain COX-2 inhibitor drugs (like Celebrex).

  • People who used Vioxx for more than 18 months were found to be at a serious risk of developing heart conditions. This conclusion was reached to after performing many clinical trials and the FDA had to act immediately.
  • Although patients who were on the drug were relieved from their pain issues the benefits-side-effects ratio of the drug was not in favour of the user.
  • Vioxx was instrumental in blocking the pain signals being sent to the brain by the prostaglandins. This blockage was also causing potential damage in many patients.
  • Apart from a stroke and heart attack, patients with long-term usage  were also experiencing stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Not only VIoxx, but also the other drugs belonging to the same category like Ibuprofen (famous brand names are Advil and Motrin) along with a few other over the counter medications are posing the same risk owing to which the FDA is asking for a detailed description of the side-effects on the label.

Vioxx replacement drugs

After analysing Vioxx side-effects and also after understanding the potential dangers of other NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex, it is safe to limit their usage to a minimum. There are other alternatives like MSM, Chondroitin and Glucosamine (natural anti-inflammatory drugs) which are much safer when compared to this COX-2 inhibitor.

Alternatives

For people who are worried about the adverse effects of these drugs, fortunately there are other available alternatives:

  • Vitamin supplements like Chondroitin, Glucosamine and the compound MSM (constituting Sulphur) are very useful for alleviating inflammation and pain.
  • There also exist other natural anti-inflammatory supplements which try to heal the damaged tissue rather than block pain signals to the brain.

For now, between Celebrex and Vioxx, definitely the former is a better option (the latter is not available any more). But, the potential benefits-side-effects ratio is still being studied and it is better not to use the drug over a long-term.

Diclofenac side effects

 

Diclofenac tablets are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used as painkillers in treating patients suffering from arthritis pains. This drug is available under the brand names Cataflam, Voltaren and Voltarol. Although these tablets perform accomplish their painkilling task, they can lead to some severe side-effects like internal bleeding and gastric irritation.

Uses of Diclofenac Tablets

People who suffer from osteoarthritis and rheumatic pains are known to benefit the most from these tablets. Although oral tablets are usually prescribed, there also exist injections, suppositories and gels of Diclofenac that can be used by arthritis patients to relieve them of pain from their inflamed joints.

Diclofenac warnings

Before prescribing these tablets to patients, doctors usually check the medical history of the patient. Patients who have suffered from the following problems in the past cannot be prescribed Diclofenac.

  • NSAID allergies, liver diseases, kidney diseases, gastrointestinal bleeding, gastric ulcers, asthma and heart ailments are not to be given these tablets.
  • It has been observed that the use of this particular NSAID causes two severe problems, viz. gastric ulcers and clotting of blood platelets.
  • Also, in arthritis people, who usually are required to take these tablets for a long-term, renal problems have been observed.
  • Although not very common, diclofenac can also cause anaphylactic shock leading to problems with breathing and blood pressure.
  • Pregnant women, especially in the first and last trimesters are not to take this medicine as it can harm the foetus.

So, it’s depending on the previous and existing medical conditions of the patient, would doctors suggest the use of these tablets.

One way of reducing problems associated with diclofenac tablets is to stick to the prescribed dosage and consume it as a whole tablet (not in crushed form) with at least one glass of water. Sometimes, doctors also prescribe Omeprazole along with diclofenac in order to reduce gastric issues.

Capzasin arthritis pain relief side effects

Capzasin is a topical analgesic that is prescribed by doctors for patients suffering from arthritis related pains. Apart from arthritis patients, people suffering from backaches, muscle strain and pain and joint pains can also buy this analgesic over the counter. But, it is better to use it when prescribed by a doctor.

Capsaicin allergy

Topical creams as we know are not known to cause any side-effects when compared to oral medications. But with this particular cream, a few patients can have problems. Let us see what these can be.

Let us start with a minor Capsaicin allergy that almost everyone would experience – burning or stinging sensation. For the first few days, this temporary side-effect would exist after which it would subside. Also, when people accidentally inhale the dried residue, it could lead to nasal irritation accompanied by sneezing and coughing.

Some Serious Ones: If you are buying the cream over the counter, just before applying it, check if you are allergic to any of the constituents found in the cream. Usually, doctors would take care of this while prescribing the analgesic.

Allergic reactions can lead to blisters, redness of the skin, irritation, swallowing difficulties, rashes, chest tightness and swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips.

Precautions

Follow these precautions before applying the analgesic:

  • Use only as directed, never overuse the cream. These creams can seep through the skin pores into the blood stream and over-dosage may lead to unwanted issues.
  • Do not use a heating pad over the applied area as this could potentially burn the skin.
  • Do not apply on broken skin or cuts.
  • Refrain yourself from applying the cream immediately before or after swimming or sunbathing.
  • Pregnant ladies are suggested not to use as the harm caused by the cream is still unknown. Also, women are advised not to get pregnant during the course of treatment.
  • Apply the cream using cotton rather than your fingers or palms to avoid the sting. Wash your hands promptly after usage.

Biofreeze gel Side Effects

Another very commonly prescribed analgesic for arthritis patients is biofreeze. Though biofreeze side-effects are negligible when compared to its potential benefits, caution needs to be exercised. Most users have no problems whatsoever when they use biofreeze, but sustained usage has known to cause a few side-effects. Let us see what these problems are.

Biofreeze ingredients- Allergic Reactions

The main cause of allergic reactions when any substance is used is because of its ingredients. Biofreeze cream constitutes of camphor and menthol. People who are allergic to any of the two must refrain themselves from using biofreeze.

  • Menthol is extracted from peppermint oil and possesses some anesthetic properties while camphor has antiseptic properties. The first signs of an allergic reaction are rashes and irritation of the skin. If you experience these effects, stop using the product immediately and consult your doctor to assess as to what is causing the problem.
  • Another side-effect of biofreeze is it causes high fever after persistently using it for a couple of days. People using the cream would also experience symptoms of nausea, breathing problems along with cough, headaches and chest pain. It is better to consult your doctor immediately during such episodes.

Precautions

Another thing to bear in mind about biofreeze is poisoning. Although not a side-effect, the menthol contained in the product can cause poisoning when ingested or consumed orally. Thus it is essential to keep the product out of children’s reach who could get poisoned very easily.

  • Another precaution to be taken is to keep the product from getting into the eyes.
  • Do not apply any heating pads on the area where you apply biofreeze as this could lead to a temperature imbalance between the cooling nature of the analgesic and the heat from the heating pad.

Biofreeze side-effects are actually negligible when compared to its potential benefits as a pain reliever.

Sulfasalazine for Arthritis

 

Sulfasalazine is a DMARD (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug). Sulfasalazine for arthritis is a very effective way of treatment as it not only relieves one of the symptoms but also, deals with the underlying condition of the disease. This DMARD is very useful for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PA).

Salazopyrin EN-Tabs is the name under which this drug is usually prescribed. These tabs are produced in such a way that they do not get dissolved in the stomach quickly.

These tabs make sure that the patient gets relieved from the symptoms of arthritis like stiffness, swelling and pain in the joints and also reduce the progression of RA and PA.

Uses and dosage of Sulfasalazine

These tablets are to be taken orally and directly with water. One should make sure that the tablet is neither chewed nor crushed but swallowed wholly.

  • The dosage for the tablet would depend on the intensity of the disease and this is usually decided by the doctor. Although, one would usually start with a 500mg tablet (to be taken twice a day) for the first four weeks. Gradually, depending on the severity and the requirement, the dosage would be increased.
  • The drug only starts working after a period of 12 weeks and one cannot expect an instantaneous result.

Side-Effects

The most common side-effects that one experiences during the first three months of this drug intake are nausea, headache, dizziness, stomach pain, diarrhoea and rashes.

  • In some people, the blood count would also be affected which could lead to fever, bruising, sore throat and infections. It is important not to use the drug in such a situation and speak to your doctor immediately.
  • The urine would turn orange, although this is not a worrying sign.
  • People who wear contacts would find their lenses stained and yellow in colour.

Sulfasalazine for arthritis treatment is not recommended if you are a breastfeeding mother. The drug could be dissolved in the milk and can cause potential harm to the baby.

Voltaren Gel for Arthritis

Voltaren gel has been approved by the US regulatory that this gel can be directly applied on the area which is associated with osteoarthritis. This gel is an anti-inflammatory and a non-steroidal medication. Only those patients use it who suffer from joint pain of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a very severe condition where the cartilage breakdown in the joints.

There is about 1% of diclofenac sodium present in voltaren gel in topical gel form. This gel doesn’t contain steroidal and inflammatory medications that may induce pain of osteoarthritis in joints. Voltaren gel absorbs 94% less as compared to diclofenac which makes it an effective pain reliever.

About Voltaren Gel

  • It has been clinically proved that voltaren gel is very effective in treating arthritis pain in the joints like hands and knees.
  • This is the only gel that has been most effective.
  • This gel was tested on 900 patients who were suffering from joint pain. It was observed that voltaren gel reduced pain in knees and hands by the end of the treatment. By the end of the treatment, pain was reduced by 51%

Precautions and side effects of Voltaren Gel

  • The common reaction of voltaren gel affected 7% patients who were treated.
  • With most NSAIDs there could be severe events of cardiovascular thrombotic, stroke and myocardial infection
  • There is also a risk of gastrointestinal with NSAIDs which may lead to ulceration, perforation of the intestine and bleeding.
  • Voltaren gel is not recommended to people suffering from asthma or any allergic reactions
  • Voltaren gel should never be taken with other medications like asprin because of serious side-effects.
  • As voltaren gel has not yet been tested with other products like sunscreens, it should not be applied on the same area of the skin

Froben for Treating Inflammation

Flurbiprofen , the generic name, and available under the brand name Froben is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for treating osteoarthritis conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and spondylitis. Apart from the arthritis conditions, Froben is also used for inflammatory conditions like tenosynovitis, bursitis and tendinitis.

How Does Froben Work?

The main ingredient of this NSAID is flurbiprofen which plays its part in alleviating inflammation and pain by the bodily substance blocking cyclo-oxygenase, shortly referred to as COX. Let us see how blocking COX helps reduce pain in arthritis patients.

COX produce the chemicals prostaglandins when our body suffers an injury or is affected by a disease (like arthritis). The production of these chemicals is what causes the inflammation, swelling and pain. Thus when COX gets blocked by flurbiprofen, inflammation and pain are alleviated.

Side effects of froben tablets

Some of the possible side-effects experienced by people using this NSAID are:

  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • vertigo
  • stomach ulcers or bleeding
  • stomach disorders like indigestion, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • depression
  • pancreatitis
  • skin rashes
  • depression

The above mentioned list is not an exhaustive one and also, not necessarily everybody using the drug would experience the side-effects. it would vary from person to person.

Precautions for froben

The following points should be kept in mind while on this NSAID:

  • Always take the medicine with your food or after having your food.
  • Many people mistake that this drug suppresses infection. But in fact, the symptoms are only masked and one should not be under the misconception that their infection is healing. Speak to your doctor immediately if you get an infection while on the drug.
  • A doctor always prescribes only a low dose for a short duration. Never increase the dosage on your without the doctor asking you to do so.
  • People suffering from liver cirrhosis or heart and kidney problems and those taking diuretics should be thoroughly assessed regarding their kidney function and only then be prescribed Froben.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding women are also to refrain themselves from using this drug.

Diflunisal for Alleviating Inflammation

Diflunisal is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID used for alleviating pain and inflammation in people suffering from arthritic conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis) and several other musculo-skeletal disorders that cause inflammation and swelling. Diflunisal is a generic name and is sold under the brand name Dolobid.

How Does Diflunisal Work?

Dolobid, the brand name of the NSAID can also be called a COX inhibitor. So, now what does COX mean? COX or cyclo-oxygenase are substances present in the body that produce a chemical called prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are produced as a response to an injury or the presence of a disease thus, triggering inflammation in the body.

  • As mentioned above, Dolobid is a COX inhibitor or a drug that suppresses the activity of the cyclo-oxygenase. Once COX are inhibited, it automatically reduces the production of prostaglandins thus, reducing inflammation, swelling and pain.
  • This is the reason that this NSAID is prescribed to people suffering from rheumatic pains, a symptom of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Precautions

A few precautions are necessary before deciding to take this NSAID:

  • Always take the tablet along with your food to avoid any stomach irritations.
  • Do not fail to mention to your doctor if you have suffered from an allergy when taking other NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin etc.
  • This medicine is not to be used if you recently have undergone a bypass, are suffering from a kidney disease or suffer from asthma that is sensitive to aspirin.
  • If you are prescribed this drug for a long-term, make sure to have periodic liver and kidney check-ups to make sure that there are no complex side-effects.

Side effects of Diflunisal

Some of the Side-effects associated with this NSAID are:

  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • pancreatitis
  • blood disorders
  • skin rashes
  • stomach ulcers and bleeding
  • visual disturbances

Not all people using diflunisal would experience side-effects. It varies from person to person. Although children and pregnant and breastfeeding women must not use this NSAID.

Medication for arthritis does not increase the risk for tumor

Popular medications for rheumatoid arthritis, which blocks protein associated with inflammation, as it seems, does not increase the risk for cancer, say Spanish researchers. Medications in use since 1998. Medications known as TNF-blockers have the effect on the immune system by blocking activity of inflammatory proteins TNF-a, tumor necrosis factor. These are drugs in use since 1998, but some studies showed that their use increases the risk for cancer – particularly lung cancer and lymphoma – by reduce the reaction of immune response system. – Despite the fears, blocking TNF-a does not increase the risk of cancer – said Dr. Loreto Carmon from Spain foundation for rheumatology in Madrid.

Research on data from the medical board

Carmon, who presented his research at the annual meeting of the American Association of Rheumatologists, which is held in San Francisco, used data from the medical board from two Spanish registries of patients. In one were the data on 4500 persons who had taken medication since 2001, until 2007, while the second had data on 800 patients from the period of 1999. – 2005, who have not taken medication. Researchers have discovered 70 cases of cancer in the group who took medication and 29 cases of cancer in the group who did not take medication. Because the groups were in different sizes and that they encompassed different periods, scientists have made a calculation that did not show a statistical difference in risk for cancer.

Respondents are not sorted by age, sex or other health risks Dr. Eric Matteson of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, who has not participated in the research, estimated that the research shows that the overall rate of risk for cancer, if it exists at all, are still very small. But he cautioned on several study limitations, the main is that subjects are not pre-sorted by age, sex and other health problems. Among the TNF-blockers are infliximab or Remicade, Humira or adalimumab, etanercept or Enbrel and Cimzia or certolizumab pegol. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and often affects young people, cause pain, swelling and stiffness. The disease hit 20 million peop worldwide.

Tylenol Arthritis and Their Medications

Tylenol Arthritis can relieve pain for about eight hours and it starts working immediately after consumption, therefore, patients do not have to wait for the effect to kick in before resuming their activities.

The generic name of Tylenol Arthritis is acetaminophen. It works in two layers. The first layer provides instant relief while second gives pain relief for up to eight hours.

Uses and dosage of tylenol drug

Each caplet of Tylenol Arthritis Pain contains a quantity of 650 milligrams of acetaminophen. The medication is also available as gelcaps. Adults are advised to ingest two caplets with water every eight hours. The pills should be ingested whole. It is not advisable to take more than six caplets in a day (24 hours). Sufferers are not advised to take this medication for more than ten days, unless they have been advised by a doctor.

 

What is Naproxen?

Naproxen is one of the types of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which helps in minimizing the pain and inflammation in our body by eliminating the hormones that evokes the pain. It is also used in the treatment of some of the kinds of arthritis like psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and also for treating tendinitis, menstrual cramps, ankylosing spondylitis, gout and bursitis. Its chemical formula is given by C14H14O3. Selling of Naproxen was first started in 1976 and in 1994 it was permitted to be sold as an over the counter medication.

Precations, dosage and side effects of naproxen

Naproxen can lead to severe circulation and heart problems if used for a long period of time. If you are thinking of having a bypass surgery of heart then make sure that you don’t take this drug after and before the surgery. The recommended dosage of naproxen is about 200 mg- 2 times a day. We can take naproxen using food, water or milk. However, not every patient is suitable for taking naproxen. Patients who are sensitive to aspirin or patients, who are suffering from kidney problems, stomach bleeding, liver problems or ulcers, must consult their doctors before using naproxen.

 

Naproxen also causes some side effects like dizziness, constipation, cold symptoms, headaches, diarrhea, thirst and gas.

 

Does Ibuprofen Help with Arthritis?

Ibuprofen is used for treating arthritis in combination with inflammation at the joints. One should be sure that the arthritis has manifested the body before prescribing Ibuprofen. It reduces the stiffness in joints and swelling. It belongs to the class of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs like the aspirin and tolmethin.  

how ibuprofen works on inflammation?

 

It has several side effects, taking it with food reduces the intensity. It is an inhibitor which inhibits the chemical called cyclooxygenase; it is actually an enzyme which transforms a specific fatty molecule into a molecule which would cause inflammation. Ibuprofen obstructs the activity of the cyclooxygenase, thou it helps in this case but ibuprofen don’t differentiate between COX1 and COX2, also hinders the COX1 which results in damage to the stomach. It’s a stand out disadvantage of the ibuprofen causes severe damage. Long term use of ibuprofen can lead to serious gastro-intestinal bleeding and ulcers.

Warnings and precautions for drug ibuprofen

 

There are reports of deaths due to ibuprofen; people take slight amount nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs for arthritis pain on a regular basis, this slight amount of ibuprofen sums up enough to have a major impact ultimately causing you death. Should be avoided by patients having history of peptic ulcer, heart problems or any gastro intestinal problems, it is absolutely not recommended for nursing mothers and also to be avoided during pregnancy.

Pain relief Tramadol

The pain relief tramadol or tramadol hyrochloride is usually prescribed to patients who suffer from arthritis conditions with moderate to severely moderate pain. The generic version of Tramadol is Ultram, a synthetic analgesic that works like morphine.

Affect on Opioid Receptors

Although the exact working pattern of the drug is unknown, it has been observed that the pain reliever tramadol has an affect on the function of the opioid receptors in the brain. The opioid receptors are the ones that control the flow of pain sensations in the body.

Dosages, precautions and side effects of drug Tramadol:

  1. It is not a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Tramadol belongs to the drug class of opiate agonists. It changes the way in which the body gets a sense of the pain.
  2. It is available in both immediate and extended formulations. Meaning, this drug is available in 50mg, 100mg, 200mg and 300mg. The extended formulations are the ones that usually arthritis patients are prescribed. It is up to the doctors to decide the dosage based upon the patient’s condition.
  3. The extended formulation tablets must be consumed wholly. The higher dose tablets that are prescribed to arthritis patients mus not be split nor chewed for they can lead to severe side-effects including death.
  4. Users can become dependent. Usage of these tablets on a regular basis is not recommended as the users can become extremely dependent and begin to show withdrawal symptoms. It is only after consulting a doctor that the dosage and usage should have to be decided.
  5. Other drugs can interfere with this drug. Drugs like carbamazepine and Quinidine, inhibitors like monoamine oxidase and selective serotonin reuptake can reduce the effect, increase the concentration and result in seizures when combined with Ultram.
  6. Mixing with narcotic and alcoholic substances can lead to depression. If Ultram is combined with alcohol, narcotic drugs, sedatives et., it can lead to the depression of the nervous system along with affecting the breathing or sometimes stopping it.
  7. Pregnant ladies should not use Ultram. Pregnant ladies along with nursing mothers are advised not to take this drug as there is no complete awareness of the side-effects still.
  8. Ultram can be well tolerated. Except for a few common side-effects like nausea, vomiting et., the drug is usually well tolerated when taken in right doses.
  9. Risks outweigh the benefits of this drug. Although, after using the drug for three months symptoms are improved, the potential side-effects of the drug after continuous usage are more harmful than the benefits.
  10. Call 911 in case of an overdose. If one exhibits symptoms like breathing difficulty, seizure, heart attack or a decrease in pupil size, the local emergency must be called immediately.

Pain reliever tramadol is very effective for arthritis patients who suffer from severely moderate pain.

 

Does Aspirin Help Arthritis?

Aspirin is an important medication when it comes to treat swelling, stiffness and pain of the joint which is caused by arthritis. It was once known as the ‘gold standard’ since for a long period of time, it was the sole medication that was available in the market which could reduce the arthritis symptoms. Even though aspirin is known to work without causing any harm in most of the arthritis condition, one should consult a doctor before taking it. Mild and moderate fever, pain and headaches can be relieved by taking aspirin in small doses. However, higher doses must be used when one aims to reduce the swelling, heat, pain and redness which are the primary symptoms of arthritis.

Aspirin side effects

Aspirin, which is a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), must be kept away from those below 18 years especially when they are suffering from viral illness. It should also be not given to those suffering from bleeding disorder, ulcer disease or asthma because it is known to cause irritation of stomach lining, skin bruising and thinning of the blood. Taking large quantities of aspirin over a long duration can lead to Reye’s syndrome. In order to avoid stomach problems one should take the precaution of not using aspirin with tea, coffee and alcohol.