Get the Most Out of Your Osteoarthritis Medications

To get the most out of your osteoarthritis medication, here are a few questions and answers that may assist you:

  1. Am I taking the medication correctly? If the pain is mild, some medications can be prescribed or recommended to be taken only when you need them. If the pain is more severe and occurs even when you are not moving, other medications can be prescribed or recommended to be taken on a regular basis. Make sure you follow the directions from your pharmacist or doctor.

  2. When will I see an effect? Some pain medication may take over two weeks to see the full effect. It is important to take your medication for an adequate amount of time before speaking to your doctor about increasing the dose or switching to a new medication. 

  3. What side effects can I expect? Most pain medication is well tolerated, but can cause mild to severe side effects depending on the dose and frequency of use. Speak to your pharmacist about the potential side effects and how to manage them, as well as to know when to see your doctor.

  4. Are there any drug interactions? Pain medication can interact with other medications, including those you get without a prescription (e.g., herbal remedies, vitamins). It is important that your pharmacist is aware of all prescription medications and over-the-counter products you are taking to prevent drug interactions. 

  5. What do I do if I forget a dose? Forgetting to take your medication can be a problem, especially if you are taking many medications. If you frequently forget doses of your medication, talk to your neighbourhood pharmacist about compliance aids.

  6. Is my medication available in an easy open top bottle? Many people with osteoarthritis in their hands find it difficult to open childproof lids. If you are experiencing this difficulty, talk your to your pharmacist about easy open top bottles. This will allow for easier access to your medications.   
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