Several types of drugs are useful in treating arthritis of the knee.
NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are available both over-the-counter and by prescription.
A COX-2 inhibitor is a special type of NSAID that may cause fewer gastrointestinal side effects.
Common brand names of COX-2 inhibitors include Celebrex (celecoxib) and Mobic (meloxicam, which is a partial COX-2 inhibitor). A COX-2 inhibitor reduces pain and inflammation to increase your function and mobility. If you are taking a COX-2 inhibitor, you should not use a traditional NSAID (prescription or over-the-counter).
Be sure to tell your doctor if you have had a heart attack, stroke, angina, blood clot, hypertension or if you are sensitive to aspirin, sulfa drugs, or other NSAIDs.
Injections for Arthritis
Two types of injections are helpful in relieving the pain of the arthritic knee: Corticosteroids and Viscosupplementation. These injections work in different ways.
Corticosteroids (also known as cortisone) are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can be injected into the joint. These injections provide pain relief and reduce inflammation; however, the effects do not last indefinitely. Your doctor may recommend limiting the number of injections to three or four per year, per joint, due to possible side effects.
In some cases, pain and swelling may “flare” immediately after the injection, and the potential exists for long-term joint damage or infection. With frequent repeated injections, or injections over an extended period of time, joint damage can actually increase rather than decrease.
Viscosupplementation involves injecting substances into the joint to improve the quality of the joint fluid.