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Appropriate use of pain relievers Submitted by Collaborative Arthritis Care Most people typically talk with a friend or family member when attempting to choose an over-the-counter medication to relieve joint or muscle pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) are found in every pharmacy and, therefore, are the most commonly used analgesic agents. Nevertheless, adults should be mindful about the frequency of use and total daily dosage when taking these medications in order to avoid potential side effects. The majority of medical providers view acetaminophen as the best tolerated and safest pain reliever of the group. We recommend this medication as an initial option for joint and muscle pain. Very few individuals experience

stomach upset or drowsiness when taking acetaminophen. It also does not worsen high blood pressure or negatively affect kidney function. Medical providers do inform our patients that the total daily dose is 2000mg. An individual who exceeds this limit is at risk of liver toxicity. However, the incidence of liver toxicity due to acetaminophen is very low.

Ibuprofen and naproxen are effective pain relievers. Most people try these agents after taking acetaminophen and finding that it was not effective. Medical providers view ibuprofen and naproxen as having equal potency. However, it is common that an individual may perceive that one agent works better than the other. Both ibuprofen and naproxen can cause stomach upset, can elevate blood pressure and can worsen kidney function. Individuals that take these medications on daily basis should make periodic visits to their doctor. Medical providers may also prescribe narcotics for our patients, but generally for short-term use. Typical indications for narcotics can be an acute musculoskeletal injury or fracture. Providers may also prescribe narcotics for acute pain after surgery.

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Collaborative Arthritis Care 804.524.2400 300-A Temple Lake Drive, Suite 1 Colonial Heights, VA 23834 6 | Tri-Cities Health & Wellness - Winter 2017