Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Osteoarthritis medication

2-minute read

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Treatment is available to help manage the pain and disability.

Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage between your joints wears down and becomes thin. Cartilage is the protective cushioning that stops your bones rubbing on each other. If the cartilage wears down enough, the bones rub on each other, worsening your pain and limiting your movement.

Treatment usually depends on which joints are affected and the how bad the pain is. It can include diet, exercise, hot or cold packs, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines, physiotherapy, aids and devices, and surgery.

Types of osteoarthritis medicines

Different types of medicines can ease osteoarthritic pain. Some are tablets and capsules that you swallow. There are some you can rub on your skin. There are some that are injected into the joints.

The most common ones are:

Some people also have injections of corticosteroid (a type of steroid) into their joints to reduce inflammation.

Important information about osteoarthritis medication

All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, but most of the time they are not. The main concern with oral NSAIDs is a risk of gastrointestinal side effects such as stomach ulcers and bleeding.

Before taking any medicines, you may wish to ask your doctor or pharmacist:

  • what are the side effects of your osteoarthritis medicines
  • what are the benefits
  • what to do if you miss a dose
  • what to do if you experience side effects

Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you feel unwell when taking your medicines. Do not stop or change your medicines without talking to your doctor.

Looking for more medicine information?

healthdirect’s medicines section allows you to search for medicines by brand name or active ingredient. It provides useful information about medicines such as their use, whether they are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and product recalls.

Last reviewed: February 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 139 results

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis or disease of the joints.

Read more on WA Health website

Osteoarthritis - Pain Conditions - painHEALTH

Learn about Osteoarthritis, what treatments are available and get helpful tips to form part your musculoskeletal pain co-management treatment plan

Read more on painHEALTH website

Learn about Osteoarthritis, symptoms & treatment - MOVE

What is osteoarthritis? Understand more about your musculoskeletal condition, where to find support & how MOVE can help you.

Read more on MOVE muscle, bone & joint health website

Osteoarthritis - Lab Tests Online AU

Site map of article content

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Arcoxia Tablets - myDr.com.au

Arcoxia Tablets - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information website

Osteoarthritis | myVMC

Osteoarthritis: Information on the symptoms of Osteoarthritis, itstreatment and diagnosis including complications of Osteoarthritis written by health professonals.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Acupuncture for osteoarthritis | Cochrane

This summary of a Cochrane review presents what we know from research about the effect of acupuncture on osteoarthritis.

Read more on Cochrane (Australasian Centre) website

Osteoarthritis | Arthritis Australia

What is osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that affects the whole joint including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles. Although often described as 'wear and tear', OA is now thought to be the result of a joint working extra hard to repair itself. OA may include: inflammation of the tissue around a

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Osteoarthritis - Better Health Channel

Many people will experience symptoms of osteoarthritis as they age.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Osteoarthritis (joint pain) information video | myVMC

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of knee pain and joint pain, and the leading cause of joint replacement therapy (e.g. knee or hip replacement).

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback