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Aspirin and Arthritis

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness of the joints. Sometimes it also causes redness, swelling, and warmth. In severe cases, joints may become misshapen.

How does aspirin help arthritis?

Aspirin can help relieve pain and swelling (inflammation) caused by arthritis.

Not everyone should take aspirin. Daily use of aspirin can cause problems, such as stomach irritation, bleeding, and hearing loss. Ask your healthcare provider if you should take aspirin and if so, how much to take.

How does it work?

Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs block the chemicals in the body that cause pain, fever, and inflammation.

Aspirin works well as a painkiller for arthritis, but it doesn't prevent the long-term damage to the joints caused by some types of arthritis.

Not all aspirin products are the same. Some forms of aspirin may irritate the stomach. Liquid forms, coated tablets, and time release tablets may cause fewer side effects. Some aspirins are labeled "arthritis strength" or "extra strength" because they are higher doses than other types of aspirin.

What else do I need to know about this medicine?

  • Aspirin may cause you to bleed more easily or longer. Talk to your provider about the precautions that you should take while taking this medicine.
  • Follow the directions that come with your medicine, including information about food or alcohol. Make sure you know how and when to take your medicine. Do not take more or less than you are supposed to take.
  • Try to get all of your prescriptions filled at the same place. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your medicines are safe to take together.
  • Keep a list of your medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all of the products you are taking.
  • Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause and what you should do if you have side effects.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days for any reason.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before you give any medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates to a child or teen. This includes medicines like baby aspirin, some cold medicines, and Pepto-Bismol. Children and teens who take aspirin are at risk for a serious illness called Reye's syndrome.

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

To learn more about arthritis, call the Arthritis Foundation at 1-800-283-7800. Their Web site is Web site:

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2012.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-01-21
Last reviewed: 2012-01-14
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2012 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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