Medications for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Scientists haven’t yet developed a cure for ankylosing spondylitis. But prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can do a lot to control your symptoms and ease pain. Some medicines even slow down or stop your disease from progressing. Here’s a rundown of the most common drug treatments.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Available over the counter or by prescription, NSAIDs deal ankylosing spondylitis a double blow. Not only do they ease pain quickly, but they also help long-term by battling inflammation, the biologic pathways in your body that cause arthritis.

NSAIDs help more Americans cope with ankylosing spondylitis than any other type of drug. Specific types include:

  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Indomethacin (Indo-Lemmon)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox)

These medicines work by interfering in the process by which your body normally produces prostaglandins. These are chemicals that contribute to pain and swelling. Low doses kill pain, while higher doses—often available only by prescription—are necessary to fight inflammation. Each type of NSAID has a slightly different effect on your body. Your health care provider will carefully consider this when recommending or prescribing them.
Side effects from NSAIDs include stomach problems, high blood pressure, heart and kidney problems, and rashes. Talk with your health care provider if you experience these effects, or if you have other conditions that might increase your risk of developing them. These include hepatitis, Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal conditions, asthma, or allergies to medicine.

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