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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

What painkillers are stonger than paracetamol and are they safe for me to take?

Q) I've had rheumatoid arthritis for 37 years, affecting my hands, wrists and left elbow. As a result of taking Vioxx and diclofenac I had a stroke in January 2006, leaving me partially sighted. My question is what would be a safe tablet to take that's stronger than paracetamol? I've tried tramadol, which caused headaches, dizziness and sickness. So I go back to paracetamol which is for mild or moderate pain, and arthritis can be severe at times.
Mrs B Walker, Polegate, East Sussex (Spring 2007) 

A) There's a big gap in the market since co-proxamol was ‘withdrawn’. Between paracetamol and tramadol there's a need for a stronger painkiller without the constipating side-effects of codeine (in co-codamol) and dihydrocodeine (in co-dydramol). Some of the stronger painkillers are now available in patch form and they certainly seem to produce fewer side-effects, although they're expensive.

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