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Rheumatology Medications

A number of types of drugs are used to treat arthritis and connective tissue disease. These generally fall into the following groups:

Rheumatology Medications FAQs

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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce inflammation as well as pain, and may be prescribed for many types of arthritis. They are usually given in tablet or capsule form, often as a slow-release preparation to ensure stable levels of the drug within the body. NSAIDs may also be given in the form of suppositories or as gels and creams for topical application to the skin overlying affected areas. Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, diclofenac, meloxicam, nabumetone, naproxen, etodolac and celecoxib. There are many different proprietary names for some of these drugs.

NSAIDs may not be prescribed if you are taking certain other drugs such as warfarin or if you have, or have had gastric (stomach) ulcers in the past - if you are in any doubt, please discuss this with staff. Should you experience dyspepsia (heartburn) or indigestion whilst taking NSAIDs you may require additional medication (PPIs) to protect your stomach; again you should discuss this with staff at the clinic or with your GP. NSAIDs should not be taken on an empty stomach but always with, or immediately after, food.

Some NSAIDs are available over the counter as pain relief medications. Check you are not already taking a prescribed one before buying pain relievers.

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