Other Drug Classes

Anticonvulsants are medications that appear to block pain signals from the body's nervous system. They are typically used to prevent seizures. However, certain anticonvulsants are also prescribed to treat chronic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia.

Antidepressants are medicines that affect levels of certain neurotransmitters (nerve-signaling chemicals) in the brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These drugs are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. However, certain antidepressants are used to treat chronic pain and improve sleep in patients with fibromyalgia and other arthritis-related conditions.

Bisphosphonates are medicines used to improve bone mass by slowing the breakdown of old bone. They are prescribed to people with osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates work by slowing the activity of bone-ingesting cells called osteoclasts.

Bone-forming agents are medications that stimulate the production of bone-forming cells called osteoblasts. They are used to treat osteoporosis.

Cholinergics are medications that mimic the effects of a chemical called acetylcholine, which is produced by the body's nervous system. It sends nerve signals that help maintain many body functions, including saliva production. Cholinergics are used to treat many conditions, including dry mouth related to Sjögren's syndrome.

Hormones are chemical substances made by the body that regulate the activity of certain cells or organs. Hormone replacement therapy is used to treat many health conditions, including osteoporosis.  The hormones calcitonin, estrogen and progesterone play an important role in bone loss and growth.

Hypnotics are sleeping pills. They may be prescribed to patients with fibromyalgia who have disrupted or nonrestorative sleep. These medicines do not control pain; however, improved sleep can make a person feel better overall.

Immunosuppressants dampen the activity of the body's immune system, reducing harmful inflammation. Immunosuppressants used to treat inflammatory and autoimmune forms of arthritis and related conditions are considered a type of disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). They come in many different forms. An eye drop form is used to treat dry eye symptoms associated with Sjögren's syndrome.

Muscle relaxants are a group of drugs that relieve muscle spasms. Some are used to relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia. Muscle relaxants may also cause drowsiness, which may improve sleep in people with chronic pain.

Ocular lubricants are eye moisturizers. They come in a variety of forms, such as eye drops or pellets, which dissolve in the eye to dry eye symptoms associated with Sjögren's syndrome.

Uric acid drugs are medicines that affect the level of uric acid in the body. High levels of uric acid can cause gout, a painful type of inflammatory arthritis. There are different types of uric acid drugs. Some increase the amount of uric acid that your body removes through urination. Others block the activity of an enzyme in the body that converts other substances to uric acid. 

The Arthritis Today Drug Guide is meant for education – not self-medicating. Arthritis Today, the Arthritis Foundation and the Drug Guide Medical Review Panel do not endorse any products mentioned in this guide. While we endeavor to keep the information up to date, we make no representations or warranties about the completeness of the information provided.

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