pain killers - what works?

I have been taking over the counter paracetamol and ibuprofen. I am on steroid injections and just about to start weekly methx injections (oral tabs haven't worked) I also take sulfasalazine daily. The pain is not being touched by the paracetamol and ibuprofen I am seeing Doctor later today to discuss - but what do you guys take for the pain I am clock watching all the time for my next dose and am struggling to get to sleep as I just can't get comfortable and when I do fall asleep it's only for a couple of hours at a time! Thanks....

10 Replies

  • Hello,

    I'm sorry you are struggling so much and I'm pleased you are going to see the GP for advice.

    As for what works - well it seems from what I read that, as with all the RA meds, what works for one person does little for another so it can often be a case of trial and error. Certainly the GP should be able to prescribe something stronger for you than over the counter ibuprofen and paracetamol though. For me, the two anti-inflammatories which helped most have been Diclofenac and Meloxicam (not taken together of course). I have picked up on the fact that docs seem to be less willing to prescribe Diclofenac these days though and in some cases are taking people off it and giving them an alternative because I think recent studies have shown that Diclofenac has one of the higher likelyhoods of more serious side effects. My view is that if you can find an effective anti-inflammatory, that will be better than painkillers which just block the pain rather than reducing it by damping down the inflammation. If you are going to be taking prescription anti-inflamms regularly though, they can be very hard on the stomach so the doctor should offer to prescribe a stomach protecting drug alongside (Lanzoprazole or Omeprazole are the usual ones). If not, don't be afraid to ask because they don't always remember to do that.

    Good luck - and I really do hope you find something which helps you. I hope very much too that the mtx injections work for you.

    Tilly x

  • Hi - I think Tilly has said it all really but for me it's been Naproxen that has saved the day and crushed my last two flares after a few days. Ibuprofen did work but I started getting sore tummy when I was taking it 24/7 - I'm afraid my GP never mentioned stomach protector until rather late in the day so Tilly's point is good re reminding them. I find co-codamol works quite well for me if I'm taking anti-inflammatories too but on it's own it doesn't do much. I found the switch to MTX injections made a big difference to my RA - hope same goes for you too. Tilda x

  • Hi I'm so sorry your feeling so much pain :((( for me its zapain and ibuprofen,both work wonders but that's me and what works for one may not another I'm afraid.good,luck michelle xxx

  • if no high blood pressure or heart issues arcoxia, if not as others have said naproxen, or meloxicam, co- codamol.

    Diclofenac is out of favour with prescribers due to coronary / cardio issues.

  • Thanks everyone! Just returned from GP and she prescribed co-codamol 30/500 so I will see how it goes........ X ray of hips tomorrow so need something strong for the journey to hospital!

  • If you haven't taken that strength of co-codamol before, don't be tempted to take more than one for the first dose, until you figure out if you can handle it. Also be aware that it could knock you fairly well, so you might need someone to go with you to the hospital. Also don't drive until you are sure you can handle them. I take that strength, but it took a while before I worked up to it - one of my friends still says that even one tablet at the 8/500 dose knocks them out like a light.

  • Hi, I started off with 8/500mg co codamol and now im on 30/500mg. At the moment it is helping for a while,(along with the other meds) ive had to stop taking Naproxen as the two didnt mix very well with me. Every RA person is different with each meds, i soon realised that by reading stories on here. I too only sleep for a few hours each night, which is very annoying, and when it is time to get up in the morning i am knackered. Hope the Co Codamol works for you x

  • I have 30/500 cocodamol, and find the trick is to keep topped up - don't wait for pain to get a hold before you take them. Also, amitriptyline may help, though I don't know if GPs will prescribe this, or if it's the preserve of specialists.

    Good luck,

    Dotty xx

  • I was told that sometimes a triple combination of drugs works best and it may avoid using painkillers. I take mtx, sulphasalazine and hydroxychloroquine and this worked great for a long time. I am now on rituximab infusions. Perhaps you could ask about hydroxychloroquine as it is effective and the side effects are rare with it. x

  • Thanks Mille I tried hydroxychloroquine two years ago and as there was no improvement after 6 months I was told to stop. I just started the mtx injections (yesterday) I am already on sulphasalazine and had a steroid injection that should last till my next appt (2 months). The co-codomal seems to be working so far - my hands aren't as painful - but my hip pain is still quite bad. I had my hips x-rayed yesterday and I am just praying it hasn't spread as I already have bad feet and knees.x

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