Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments


Search info


What alternative therapies are there for rheumatoid arthritis?


Prescription medicines are usually the first treatment choice, however some people with rheumatoid arthritis have tried alternative therapies. Some people have tried supplements to reduce symptoms of arthritis. Examples include omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) and gamma-linolenic acid (evening primrose and borage). Additional botanical supplements include valerian, ginger, curcumin (turmeric), boswellia, feverfew and thunder god vine (used in traditional Chinese medicine).

Over-the-counter treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

Over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, (Motrin®, Advil®), and naproxen (Aleve®) can help to ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and are often the first treatment choice. Also, higher prescription-level doses of these drugs can help reduce inflammation. Creams and lotions such as Zostrix® (capsaicin) can help relieve pain for some people. These products are rubbed onto the affected joints three to four times daily. Capsaicin creams are usually not as effective as oral medications.

Other rheumatoid arthritis alternative therapies

Programs using alternative therapies for rheumatoid arthritis such as massage, tai chi, meditation, or acupuncture in combination with traditional medications also appear to be beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Some of these therapies for rheumatoid arthritis haven't been well studied, and little information is available about their effectiveness, side effects, and drug interactions. It's important to discuss any of these therapies with your doctor before trying them.

Back to Ask a Pharmacist


Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a Walgreens.com pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices

20 Points
20 Points

Now you can track your blood pressure and blood glucose.

Start earning points Go Arrow