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"What Arthritis Meds Do You Take?"

Sharing and Comparing Medication Regimens

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Updated September 15, 2008

There are so many arthritis medications, it's hard to know where to begin. Of course, your doctor will decide where to begin -- based on your symptoms and medical history -- and you will be prescribed one or more arthritis meds. But how can you, as the patient, be sure it's the right medication for you? How do you know another drug may not work better?

Trial and Error

You will find what works best for you through trial and error. Over time, the typical arthritis patient tries several medications in search of the one drug or combination of drugs that's most effective. But, for some patients, trial and error can become a long, tedious process -- taking years even.

No one wants to be an impatient patient. But, wouldn't it be great if you could ask others who have experience with various arthritis meds what works best? Then, you would take whatever they take since it works well for them. If only it were that simple. You could be spared the entire trial and error rigmarole! But it's not that simple -- patients have individual responses to medication.

Individuals Respond Differently to Arthritis Drugs

For various reasons, patients vary in both their response and tolerance of medications. What works well for one patient may be totally ineffective for another. A drug that causes undesirable side effects for one patient may be well-tolerated by another.

There is also the consideration of potential drug interactions. Do you take other medications that may interact with the arthritis med you are taking?

Individual Patients Have Dissimilar Medical Histories

No two patients have identical medical histories. When considering the benefits and risks associated with taking a new arthritis med, your medical history comes into play. Here's an example:

Sally uses naproxen to control her osteoarthritis symptoms. Her friend Mary is impressed by how well naproxen works for Sally. While Mary would like to try naproxen and see if it's effective for her, it is ill-advised because Mary has a history of bleeding ulcers. The difference in their medical histories makes naproxen a good choice for Sally, but a poor choice for Mary.

Comparing Arthritis Medication Info With Others

There's little reason, other than to satisfy your own curiosity, to ask another arthritis patient what drugs they use. The most you may learn is what drugs seem most popular but it doesn't mean that's the right choice for you. Bottom line - people are different and so is their response and tolerability of arthritis meds. Work with your doctor to establish a medication regimen and a timetable so you can anticipate what medication would be tried next if your current arthritis med failed.

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