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Alternatives to NSAIDs

Hello All,

I'd be grateful for any ideas/experience re my current situation.

I've been diagnosed with anaemia and I've had to come off NSAIDs pending further investigation. I'd been off MTX for quite a while and only started taking it again at Christmas, but since then I've had a) a severe cold and told not to take it for a couple of weeks and then b) gallbladder infection and again missed a couple of weeks MTX. So, it hasn't really had a chance to build up and I'm in a fair bit of pain.

I still have co-codomol or paracetomol for pain relief but at the moment my knees and shoulders are playing up and it isn't really dealing with it. What do other people take if they can't have NSAIDs?

I'll obviously discuss with my GP/rheumatologist when I see them but wondering what, if any, my options are.

Thanks in advance!

8 Replies

I think this is a question which only a doctor can answer as NSAIDS are not suitable for anyone with blood issues likewise SUL, its because of the Asprin base. I have Pernicous Aememia and it may well be you need a lot more tests before you get an answer. I'd suggest avoiding any OTC medication, keep to a healthy diet without any so callled magic plant based cures and try to stay active. PE can have a huge impact on tiredness, and mood as well as numbness and itches etc. If its not PE then Aememia can also have a huge impact so talk to your GP asap. Do not take B vitamins from H&B as its illegal to sell the amount prescibed as making a difference to anyone ie 35 tablets 3x a day at £35 a pack. The doctor will prescibe at the need you have. It'll take a while to get to normal and if its PE then its by injection anyway. I wish you well.x


Thanks for the info - very helpful.


I can't take them due to stomach issues. I am prescribed a nsaids based gel. Works s bit, and isn't ingested so would be Ok.

If you can get in a hot bath with Epsom and sea salt, I find that helps. My problem is getting out again! Also gently massaging my knees when in hot water is soothing.

Those deep heat patches are quite good. Used one for my back and knee. Was probably better than the nsaids gel if I'm honest. Some folks find cold packs better...I prefer heat!


Also when in awful pain I find taking either dispersible paracetamol, or dispersible codeine combined with paracetamol better than tablets (co-codomol).

I am prescribed codeine phosphate 15mg. I usually take 15 mg with two co -codomol. Over the counter co-codomol has 8mg of codeine plus the correct amount of paracetamol. I prefer to do this than take the maximum dose of codeine (30mg) prescribed by my doctor. Too much codeine gives me a banging headache! My GP has OK'd this. But check with yours first.


I've just got some good quality magnesium oil spray for my knees which I've never used before but I have known someone who has and it has helped them. As for pain relief .. I wouldn't want to recommend anything and I am on prescription only pain relief. Yes, have a chat ASAP with your GP/Rheumy. Good luck.


I tried the spray, it gave me an awful rash. But I think it works well for some folks.


Thanks for the replies, and suggestions lovely people! I'll be seeing my GP next week - she's referred me for tests to see what's caused the anaemia but I just wondered what other pain relief was available. Sadly, the bath is out of the question boohoo :( I have secret fantasies about long hot baths! I'll ask the doc about the gels and creams. Thanks again, and hope you all have a reasonably good day!

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I also can’t take NSAIDs due to stomach issues, and my GP has said the only options are paracetamol and codeine (30/500 strength) which does not even touch the pain. Fortunately I have not had a PsA flare since October 2016 (my flares have thankfully always been quite infrequent and I am now on MTX).

I recently bought a PainGone pen (available on Amazon) but not needed to try it out yet, but my sister in law who has hip pain and is waiting for a replacement finds it very helpful. Otherwise I have tried various prescription and OTC pain relief gels, ice packs, heat packs, wearing ankle and knee supports, etc, etc but not really found anything really effective so I’d be interested to know how you get on.

Good luck!


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