Medication or Drug Class



Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Varies with drug Varies with drug

Aspirin, 650 mg PO q 4 hr as needed; propoxyphene hydrochloride (Darvon), 500 mg capsule q 6 hr; acetaminophen with 15 or 30 mg of codeine PO q 4-6 hr; oxycodone, 5 mg q 6 hr PO

Sulindac, 150 mg PO bid; indomethacin, 25 mg PO qid

Relieve pain and reduce inflammation

Relieve pain and reduce inflammation

Other Drugs: Corticosteroids, local injection with corticosteroids or lidocaine for immediate pain relief


Focus on symptom relief. Encourage the patient to elevate the affected joint as often as possible to promote venous drainage and decrease the swelling. After the patient has received an intra-

articular injection, apply ice for about 4 hours to help control the pain. Teach the patient how to apply ice and heat properly to prevent burning or chilling.

Explain to the patient the need to rest and reduce stress on the affected joints by modifying his or her lifestyle or activities until the condition has improved. If a sling is prescribed, teach the patient how to wear it properly. Instruct the patient to wear a splint during sleep to protect an affected shoulder. When the patient's joint pain has diminished, assist with range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. To limit the risk of reinjury, encourage the patient to use proper shoes for exercise and to lose weight if needed.

Explain the importance of anti-inflammatory medications, and teach the patient to take them with milk to minimize gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Also caution the patient to report distress, GI upset, nausea, and vomiting. Explain the seriousness of vomiting coffee-ground-like material and the need to seek medical help immediately. Encourage the patient to take medications with food to minimize gastric distress.

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