Other drugs are used to treat arthritis-related conditions. There are drugs for osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, gout, and Sjögren's syndrome, as well as medications to help with sleep problems that plague some arthritis patients.
Bisphosphonates are used to treat osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). Fosamax (alendronate sodium), Actonel (risedronate sodium), and Boniva (ibandronate sodium) are the newest bisphosphonates on the market. Some are formulated to be taken weekly and some are taken once a month. Forteo (teriparatide) is given by injection. Side effects include esophagitis and the rare but potential risk of permanent damage to the jaw.
No drugs are approved specifically for fibromyalgia, but certain medications have been found to help fibromyalgia symptoms. Antidepressants such as Elavil and Endep (amitriptyline hydrochloride), Adapin and Sinequan (doxepin), or Aventyl and Pamelor (nor-triptyline), and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline) may help fibromyalgia patients relax and get deep, restful sleep.
Muscle relaxers, such as Flexeril, Soma, Robaxin, or Skelaxin, are often prescribed to ease muscular aches and pains associated with fibromyalgia and all types of arthritis. Neurontin (gabapentin) or Lyrica (pregabalin), classified as anti-seizure medications, can also help with pain, sleep problems, and the restless leg syndrome affecting some fibromyalgia patients.
Pain associated with arthritis can be exacerbated by lack of sleep. If you have difficulty falling asleep, ask your doctor about sleep medications. There are several to choose from — Ambien, Restoril, Rozerem, Sonata, and Lunesta — which will promote restful sleep.
Only take sleep medications as directed. You may have a particularly bad night trying to get to sleep, but if you have taken your Ambien (or other sleep medication), that's all you're allowed for twenty-four hours. If you still can't sleep after taking medication, get out of bed, do something relaxing, and then try going back to bed.
Several medications help gout patients control uric-acid levels. Allopurinol and probenecid are prescribed for patients who produce too much uric acid. Another drug, colchicine, is prescribed to prevent or ease gout attacks.
Sjögren's Syndrome Medications
Sjögren's Syndrome is an arthritis-related condition characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth. Evoxac (cevimeline) is a drug prescribed to help with dry mouth. Salagen (pilocarpine) tablets are also used to treat dry mouth associated with Sjögren's syndrome. Restasis (cyclosporine) is a drug used to treat chronic dry eye conditions.