Is Motrin effective for...

…pain of osteoarthritis?

Our neighbor uses it for knee problems - all the cartridge is gone.

Recommended by her Doctor, Motrin provides wonderful relief, she says.

So I wonder if it might be similarly salutary for my wife’s arthritis.

IANAD, first and foremost.

My layperson’s understanding (considering I have used a LOT of the stuff with my back problems): Ibuprofen/Motrin is an anti-inflammatory. It is useful in conditions that, well, cause inflammation: injury/sprains, spasms, surgery, and yes–arthritis.

Qadop and his ilk will be better to explain the whys and whats in this case.

Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID) do reduce osteoarthritis pain. That’s because NSAIDs are pain-killers.

BUT: There’s no evidence that they are any better at relieving OA pain than acetaminophen (Tylenol), another pain-killer. In fact most studies show that they’re equally effective for OA pain.

OA is not an inflammatory arthritis. It’s a degenerative arthritis, and any inflammation that occurs is a secondary effect (such as reactive inflammation from overusing a degenerated joint), not the primary disease process.

An example of an inflammatory arthritis would be RA, or rheumatoid arthritis. NSAIDS are very helpful for RA, much moreso than acetaminophen.

Besides, a single dose of an NSAID does not reduce inflammation. That takes regular dosing for days, if not weeks.

NSAIDS and acetaminophen both work for pain relief by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis.

Pssst… I think you mean “cartilage”.

You’re absolutely right! How embarrassing. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Okay, you are undoubtedly correct. But about the woman with loss of cartilage in her knee…

Is that an inflammatory condition in itself? Does it become one with the steroids her doctor injected her with?

I ask because this gal was visiting here this past Friday, and she said she was astonished at the relief she got from Motrin - compared to the next to nothing effect of Tylenol.

That’s a degenerative condition.

Secondary inflammation often occurs as described in my earlier post.

Steroid injections can help reduce pain in those instances.

Some doctors prescribe NSAIDS for this condition, based on the hypothesis that they might help relieve pain better, due to reduction of inflammation. But scientific testing has thus far failed to show that effect.

Overall, NSAIDS are no better for pain relief than acetaminophen. But individual responses vary. I encourage my patients to try different pain relievers and see which seems to work best for them.

NSAIDS do carry increased risk of gasto-intestinal bleeding, even when taken as prescribed. They can stress kidneys too, if their function is already impaired.

Acetaminophen carries no such bleeding risk. When taken in excess or with alcohol, they can cause liver damage. But it’s generally not a problem when taken in recommended doses.

Thank you.