Medicinal treatment is proposed when all the possibilities of more conservative treatment have failed to relieve the pain, and to improve the functional capabilities of the patient. There are many prescription medications, and food additives available for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Analgesics – given without a doctor’s prescription for the treatment of pain (Metamizole, Paracetamol).
Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) – given with a doctor’s prescription. They have disadvantages for long-term use, particular in the elderly. “Background” diseases, such as hypertension, gastric ulcer, etc., should be taken into consideration.
Ointments for local application, which are sometimes used as an alternative to taking medication by mouth, contain anti-inflammatories, chili peppers or salicylates. They are absorbed locally through the skin, and reduce the side-effects of the digestive system, but can increase localized rashes, irritation and burning.
Food additives that contain Glucosamine Chondroitin – no need for a doctor’s prescription. The efficiency of food additives is still disputable and unclear.
Opiate analgesics, given with a special prescription for severe pain, where other medication has not relieved the pain. There are side-effects that must be taken into consideration, and also a tendency to addiction.