Pain Medications

Medicine is an important part of managing many painful conditions. Learn about steps you can take to ensure you’re taking your medications safely, how pain drugs work in older people, what a “drug holiday” is, and more.

Opioid-Induced Constipation and Cost

by Brian Dunleavy

New research findings suggest opioid-induced constipation also can be an expensive proposition for those who suffer from it.

Off-the-Shelf Solutions

by Frieda Wiley, PharmD, CGP, RPh

It’s no secret that spending extra time outdoors engaging in physical activities can do wonders for your health and mood. However, depending on the activity, the additional stress on your joints and muscles caused by increased activity may leave you with aches and pains that can really put a damper on your enjoyment. Check out […]

What’s a “Drug Holiday”?

Holidays come in all varieties, and we usually look forward to them—but have you ever heard of a “drug holiday”? It’s pretty much what it sounds like: the discontinuation of a prescribed medication for a certain period of time. A physician would advise one for several reasons—to lessen a medication’s side effects, to remove the […]

Combination Therapy for RA Control

by Kurt Ullman, RN

Physicians typically do not use polypharmacy, or more than one medication, to treat their patients. However, for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a long and scientifically well-supported tradition supports the combination of drugs to better treat the disease. James O’Dell, MD, a physician in Omaha, Neb., first noted in the 1990s that using two or […]

Vaccines & Biologic Medicines

by Kurt Ullman, RN

Simply having a rheumatic disease increases your risk for infection, and treatments that suppress your immune system, such as biologic medications and steroids, can increase this risk even more. Consequently, vaccines to prevent illnesses are an important part of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, many questions still surround our understanding of how vaccines, RA […]


by Robert S. Dinsmoor

An inactive substance—such as sugar, distilled water, or saline solution—that physicians use either to test a given therapy or to alleviate a patient’s symptoms. In a phenomenon called the “placebo effect,” placebos can sometimes improve a patient’s condition simply because the person expects the placebo to be helpful—even though the placebo contains no medically active […]

Knee Shots Reduce Pain in Knee Osteoarthritis

by Kurt Ullman, RN

Statistics from the Arthritis Foundation indicate that more than 27 million people in the United States have osteoarthritis (OA). Among those individuals, the knee is a commonly affected joint. As we age, the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber in the knee joint wears away. Over time, the joint becomes rough, and the space […]

Osteoporosis Drugs

by Dorothy Foltz-Gray

TV ads for osteoporosis drugs make the medicines sound wonderfully effective. But some headlines have suggested they may cause risks such as broken thigh bones and eroding jaws. Such news is apt to make anyone with osteoporosis—a condition that results in brittle bones—feel skittish or even frightened about taking these drugs. Still, treating the condition […]

Opioids: Won’t You Get Addicted?

by Jackson Rainer, PhD

For several years, John had struggled with breakthrough pain, inflammation, and a host of chronic problems related to the progression of his rheumatoid arthritis (RA). His doctor suggested that John move from using a COX-2 inhibitor (a prescription-strength, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID) to an opioid for better pain control. “This is the next step […]

RA Treatments: Injectable Drugs

by Wendy McBrair, MS, BSN, CHES

Just about everyone has had the experience of going to the doctor with a symptom or complaint and exiting the doctor’s office with a prescription for some type of medicine. In most cases, the medicine prescribed is a pill or capsule that is swallowed, but there are many other ways in which drugs are administered. […]

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