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For the over 6 million Canadians living with arthritis, pain is one of the many challenges they face on a daily basis. And though medication is only one option in terms of arthritis treatment, drugs can provide pain relief (and slow joint damage in many cases of inflammatory forms of arthritis). Keep in mind that many lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating, exercise and treatments such as physical therapy, should also be explored.

The good news is: medications on the market today are safer and more effective than ever before. Medications to treat arthritis can be divided into two general categories: those that control symptoms and those that control the disease itself.

Arthritis Medications: A Reference Guide is designed to help you make informed decisions about your treatment plan and enable you to ask your healthcare team specific questions related to your care. It is an educational guide and can answer some of your questions around available medications, including details on dosages, effectiveness, side effects and warnings.

This is not, however, a how-to on self-medicating. As advised throughout the guide, you will have to discuss any new treatments or questions you have with your doctor, pharmacist and/or other healthcare provider. Arthritis is a complicated disease and only a medical professional can accurately diagnose and recommend a treatment plan most appropriate for your specific situation.

You have an essential role to play in the management of your arthritis. Start by learning the most you can about your disease, medications and other treatments, and learn to ask questions of your healthcare team. Information is key and with the right treatment and support from your healthcare team, people living with arthritis can lead active, fulfilling and more productive lives.