Use of Oral Anti-Inflammatory Prescription Medications

  1. These medications are referred to as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, NSAIDS and are used to block certain enzymes (COX enzymes) which are used by the body to produce prostaglandins that are chemicals that occur with knee arthritis that produce swelling and pain. Use these medications only with a doctor’s advice and try to use them for just one to two weeks at a time.  Pay close attention to how these medications help you and if they are decreasing your pain and swelling symptoms.
  2. With knee arthritis it is common for pain to occur in getting out of a chair or going up and down stairs as you will place up to 6-8 times your body weight in doing these activities and medications frequently do not affect these symptoms. Rather the purpose of these medications is to make you comfortable for your normal activities of daily living. So, monitor how your feel overall in carrying out your daily activities.  As knee arthritis flares up you may have to take these medicates for a few weeks, and then you may be able to stop taking them.
  3. Report to your doctor any medical problems before taking these medications. Patients with heart disease, elevated blood pressure or GI symptoms may be advised NOT to take these medications.  Also, there are a number of different types of these medications and one type may not work, so report to your doctor if you are receiving a benefit.
  4. As the arthritis in the knee advances it may be necessary to take these medications more frequently and your doctor may require you to have blood tests for liver function on a routine basis. If you have stomach problems let you doctor know as there are types of NSAIDS referred to as COX 2 medications (Celebrex) that are gentler on your stomach as they do not affect the COX 1 enzyme that is beneficial for body gastrointestinal functions.
  5. Use your pharmacy to check the other medications you are taking to make sure there are no cross reactions. If you are on blood thinners or anticoagulation medications of any type these medications SHOULD be avoided. Be sure to obtain your doctors approval.

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