Pharmaceutical therapy for osteoarthritis

PM R. 2012 May;4(5 Suppl):S82-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2012.02.009.


There are a variety of oral and topical pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of osteoarthritis. To date there is no pharmacologic agent proved to prevent disease progression. This article focuses primarily on the medications used for symptomatic relief and palliation of pain. The article reviews the medications' mechanisms of action and the available efficacy literature, as well as indications, contraindications, and common adverse effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / therapeutic use
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Nitric Oxide / therapeutic use
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Acetaminophen