Medications to Treat Hip Pain
What you need to know about the many medications used for hip problems.
Medications to ease pain, relieve inflammation, slow bone loss, modify the course of an inflammatory disease or prevent joint damage are an important part of treatment for many hip problems. The types of medications commonly used in treating hips are:
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Including more than a dozen different drugs, some of which are available without a prescription, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to help ease arthritis pain and inflammation. They are used for all forms of arthritis and other painful hip problems. By far, most NSAIDs are taken orally. Recently, however, new topical preparations, such as Voltaren Gel and Pennsaid, have been approved.
• Corticosteroids. These quick-acting drugs, similar to the cortisone made by your own body, are used to control inflammation. If hip inflammation is due to a systemic autoimmunme disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or polymyalgia rheumatica, your doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids. If inflammation is limited to your hip or an inflamed bursa, your doctor may inject a corticosteroid preparation directly into the inflamed joint or bursa.
• Analgesics. Analgesics are among the most commonly drugs for many forms of arthritis, including hip arthritis. They may also be used to relieve pain from hip injuries and surgery. Unlike NSAIDs, which target both, pain and inflammation, analgesics are designed purely for pain relief. For that reason, they may be safe for people who are unable to take NSAIDs due to allergies or stomach problems, for example. When used as directed, they're also an appropriate, and possibly safer, choice for people whose arthritis causes pain but not inflammation.
• Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are drugs that work slowly to modify the course of inflammatory disease. Different DMARDs may be useful for a number of different forms of arthritis of the hip including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.
• Gout medications. Some medications for gout are designed to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood to prevent future attacks of joint pain and inflammation. Others are designed to relieve the pain and inflammation of an acute attack. Many people with gout take both types of medication.
• Biologic response modifiers. The newest category of medications used for rheumatoid arthritis and a few other inflammatory forms of hip arthritis are the biologic agents. There are currently eight such agents approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Each blocks a step in the inflammation process without suppressing the entire immune system. In addition to rheumatoid arthritis, certain biologic agents may be used in juvenile arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.
• Osteoporosis medications. Osteoporosis medications are those used to slow the loss of bone or help the body build new bone. Although they are not used specifically to treat hip problems, strong bones are less prone to fracture. Certain medications – called bisphophonates – in this category are also used to treat Paget's disease of the bone, which, rarely, is a cause of hip pain.