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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Medications (cont.)

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What are the new classes of rheumatoid arthritis medications?

Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) is the newest medication available for rheumatoid arthritis. Known as a JAKs inhibitor, tofacitinib works by inhibiting certain enzymes involved the inflammatory process.

What are effective over-the-counter medications for rheumatoid arthritis?

Most patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) will, at some point, use over-the-counter medications to control pain -- most commonly, acetaminophen (Tylenol). Other OTC medications which can help with RA pain and inflammation include aspirin and non-prescription versions of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). In addition, some topical pain medications may also provide relief. These ointments and creams are generally divided into three categories:


Salicylates are derivatives of aspirin. In topical form, they are absorbed through the skin and exert a local, anti-inflammatory (and thus pain-relieving) effect.

  • Aspercreme
  • BenGay
  • IcyHot
  • Myoflex
  • Salonpas
  • Theragesic
  • Trolamine


Capsaicin both stimulates and inhibits pain signals in the body.

  • Capsazin
  • Zostrix


Counter-irritants work by creating a sensation in one location, to draw attention away from a source of pain in another.

  • Mineral Ice
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/27/2016


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