While not strictly pain medications, steroids are sometimes used alongside pain medications for their anti-inflammatory effects. Unfortunately, the Arthritis Foundation reports that the benefits of injectable or oral steroid medications do not last long-term. Furthermore, suppressing the immune system through the use of steroid drugs can have adverse effects on health. Other side effects of corticosteroids include weight gain, swelling, mood swings, restlessness, and muscle weakness.
2. Topical Diclofenac
Pennsaid is a topical medication that contains the anti-inflammatory agent diclofenac. This medication can provide relief for arthritic knee pain. Unfortunately, the topical use of this NSAID carries the same risk of heart attack and stroke seen with the use of oral NSAIDs. Since some of the medication is absorbed into the bloodstream, topical NSAIDs also carry the risk of GI ulcers and bleeding. Furthermore, the topical application of this medication can cause skin irritation.
Tramadol or Ultram is a synthetic pain reliever that works by binding to pain receptors in the brain. This helps decrease the sensation of pain by preventing the brain from receiving pain messages from other parts of the body. Like other pain medications, this prescription drug has the potential for addiction. Furthermore, as with other pain medications, the use of this drug may cause respiratory depression or difficulty in breathing. Additional side effects include drowsiness, heartburn, headache, and nervousness.Related: Dangers of Prescription Drugs