There are many over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications for arthritis pain sufferers that can be purchased without physicians prescriptions. Some are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) some are OTCs / some require a prescription, acetaminophen and various topical medications, covered in the very next section. Users need to be aware of possible risk from long term use or product abuse, though, and consult their medical advisors before and during use.
The most common OTC NSAIDs are ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. However, the misuse of some of these can cause blockage of an enzyme in the body that aids in the protection of the stomach lining and other areas.
Misuse can lead to stomach ulcers and bleeding, and liver and kidney trouble. (The same drug abuse issues can result from prescription NSAIDs, too). Use the right way, these drugs can help with pain relief, inflammation and fever reduction, and blood clot prevention.
Acetaminophen is the name of the active ingredient found in several well-known brand-name products; some Excedrin products, Tylenol, and Aspirin Free Anacin. Although it does not help with arthritic inflammation and swelling, it can help with pain relief in mild cases. Use caution with dosages, however. Excess usage poses risk of liver damage, even death, especially for active drinkers (of alcoholic beverages).
If your arthritis pain is mild and only affects on or two joints, you may find that a topical pain reliever or topical analgesic can be useful. Topical painkillers are available as creams, salves or gels. The active ingredients of topical painkillers include: Capsaicin. Found naturally in hot peppers, capsaicin is found in drug stores under the brand names of Capzasin-P, Zostrix, and other drugs. Capsaicin works by blocking the transmission of a pain-relaying substance called substance P to the brain.
Camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol are found in a variety of agents such as Arthricare, Eucalyptamint and Icy Hot amongst others. These substances are able to relieve pain by tricking the body to feel the coolness or heat of these agents.
Salicylates is a substance available in Aspercreme, BenGay, and Flexall. Salicylates work by decreasing pain and inflammation