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Does ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) help osteoarthritis pain?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Ibuprofen is one of the most widely used medications for treating osteoarthritis pain. The medication works by interfering with the work of prostaglandins, substances in the body that irritate nerve endings and cause pain. However, long-term use of ibuprofen can cause stomach problems, such as ulcers. Using ibuprofen also increases the risk for heart attacks and strokes. If you take ibuprofen for osteoarthritis pain, use it for the shortest time possible.

Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin and others) does help reduce osteoarthritis pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Ibuprofen is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that stops prostaglandin production to reduce pain.

Ibuprofen may increase the risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers and heart attacks. Taking the lowest dose, for the shortest period of time, may decrease this risk. Physical therapy, staying active and keeping your weight at a normal range may reduce your need for pain relievers such as ibuprofen.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.