There are various medications or a combination of them that can be used to provide relief from the pain which one experiences during arthritis. One such type of drug will naturally be an analgesic which is essentially a painkiller. These will provide relief from pain but will not do much about the inflammation; these are helpful if you are allergic to aspirin or have an ulcer. Acetaminophen is one such analgesic which can give temporary relief from the pain which at times can be excruciating during arthritis. This however does not reduce the swelling. This can be bought over the counter (without the need for a doctors prescription). Tramadol is another such drug. Sometimes, narcotic pain relievers are used for patients with severe arthritis when all other medications have not provided relief.
Arthritis medications like Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which are commonly known as NSAIDs do help in reducing pain of joints, stiffness and the swelling which occurs. They also cut down on the production of prostaglandins which are substances found in the human body which send messages of pain to the brain. Examples of NSAIDs will include the common aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Other NSAIDs are available only through a doctors prescription. One side effect of using such drugs is that they can cause a stomach upset. There is a serious possibility of cardiovascular side effects also.
Glucocorticoids are drugs which are connected to the natural hormone which is already present in the human body which is called cortisol. Scientists have developed synthetic forms of cortisone which can be consumed either by way of oils or in injection form which will go directly into joints or other tissues where the pain is occurring. These medications do assist in relieving or reducing arthritis pain by reducing the swelling and inflammation in that area. Glucocorticoid injections need to be carefully taken and monitored. Side effects can occur if one takes such injections on a regular basis and too frequently.
Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often used to control inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. While their main purpose will be to lessen inflammation, slow down and suppress the body immune system, these medications can also lessen the pain which is what arthritis patients having. These drugs could take a fair amount of time (several weeks or months) before the effects begin to show. Examples of DMARDs would be: methotreaxate, hydroxychloroquine, azathioprine, azulfidine and lefunomide.