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Over-the-counter Medications

One way to manage arthritis symptoms is with an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. It's important to remember that even though these medications can be purchased without a prescription, they are still medications. That's why it's important to take them as directed.

Some OTC medications are:

Topical pain-relieving creams, rubs, and sprays
These medications are applied directly to the skin over the joints to relieve pain.

Acetaminophen may be used by doctors to help relieve osteoarthritis pain. However, acetaminophen does not reduce inflammation. While acetaminophen is generally known as an over-the-counter medication, at higher doses it is available by prescription.

NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Unlike acetaminophen, NSAIDs treat both arthritis pain and inflammation. While all NSAIDs work similarly, each is a different chemical and therefore you may respond differently to different NSAIDs. NSAIDs are often sold as over-the-counter medications. However, at higher doses, they are available by prescription by your doctor.