White Paper – Arthritis Awareness

Arthritis Awareness

Arthritis is a painful disease experienced by as many as 40% of individuals over the age of 45. It is generally defined as inflammation of one or more joints. This inflammation causes pain and stiffness that can become very uncomfortable, and may even progress to cartilage deterioration in some disease cases. Arthritis can be further classified into osteoarthritis (non-inflammatory) and rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory).

In most cases, non-pharmacologic therapy is recommended first before trying any type of medication. This includes exercising, use of heat packs, weight loss, and physical therapy.

Pain and inflammation may be alleviated by first trying OTC (over-the-counter) medication options. However, as arthritis progresses, physician consultation and prescription therapy may become warranted. Table 1 below summarizes arthritis OTC options available.

If you have any questions about which OTC arthritis product may be best for you, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist. Make sure to inform your pharmacist of any other prescription or OTC medications you may be taking.

Table 1. Arthritis OTC Products

Drug Name: Acetaminophen
Type of Medication: Pain reliever
OTC Product Examples: Tylenol, Tylenol Extra Strength
Typical Dosing Frequency: 325mg-500mg every 6-8 hours.\ Do not exceed 4,000mg of acetaminophen per day

Drug Name: Capsaicin
Type of Medication: Topical counter-irritant
OTC Product Examples: Capsaicin gel/cream/liquid, Theragen cream, Trixaicin cream
Typical Dosing Frequency: Apply a thin film to joint area 3 or 4 times times daily

Drug Name: Glucosamine- Chondroitin
Type of Medication: Supplement/Pain reliever
OTC Product Examples: Glucosamine-Chondroitin combination products, Nature Made Triple Flex
Typical Dosing Frequency: Glucosamine: 1500mg/day Chondroitin: 800-1200mg/day

Drug Name: Ibuprofen
Type of Medication: Anti-inflammatory/ Pain reliever
OTC Product Examples: Advil, Motrin
Typical Dosing Frequency: 200mg-400mg every 4-6 hours

Drug Name: Naproxen
Type of Medication: Anti-inflammatory/ Pain reliever
OTC Product Examples: Aleve, Mediproxen
Typical Dosing Frequency: 220mg-440mg every 12 hours