What side effects of arthritis medication should I watch for?

If you're bothered by side effects, your doctor can often help by changing:

  • How much medication you take. Sometimes side effects can be stopped or minimized by reducing the dose. Or your doctor may lower the dose and then raise it more slowly.
  • When you take the medication. You may be able to cope with drowsiness or insomnia, for instance, by taking your medication in the evening or first thing in the morning.
  • How you take the medication. Taking your medication in smaller doses several times a day rather than in one dose may help. Taking your medicine with food may get rid of side effects such as nausea.
  • The type of medication. A different medication may stop your symptoms with fewer or less severe side effects.

Don't make any of these changes on your own. Always talk with your doctor before you make any changes in how you take medications.

You should tell your doctor right away if you think you're having side effects from medication. Side effects vary for each type of osteoarthritis medication. Types of medications (listed below) and their side effects are detailed in the article pages ahead.


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