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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Can you suggest a replacement painkiller to co-codamol?

Q) For many years I've taken diclofenac to relieve my arthritis. Six months ago I had to have stents inserted in my heart. Before the surgeon operated he stopped me taking the drug. Since then I 've been in severe pain in my joints and muscles. My GP has given me co-codamol but they don’t seem very effective. Can you suggest something that might give me relief?
James Yoon, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire (Autumn 2008)

A) In recent years an association between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, (such as diclofenac) and heart disease has been recognised and therefore these drugs are discouraged in people with heart disease. Your doctor has given you combination painkilling drugs which contain paracetamol and some other drug such as codeine or dihydrocodeine. These drugs don't have any anti-inflammatory effect and may not work as well for you. The risks of taking a drug should always be compared to the benefits and an informed decision made by doctor and patient, so talk to your doctor about this. A different painkiller may be tried, or a different NSAID may be appropriate, as long as you understand the risks involved.

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