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What can it do?

Welcome to the beta Arthritis Virtual Assistant. At the moment it can give you general information about your condition and medication, and provide you with useful exercises to help manage your arthritis.

Why do we need your help?

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant has been built to learn and improve with every use. That way, whenever you use it, you’re indirectly helping another person get the answers that they need for their arthritis.

What can you ask?

You'll get the best response if your question relates to a single type of arthritis, and is expressed as clearly and simply as possible. For example, "What are the best exercises for osteoarthritis?" or "What are the side effects of methotrexate?"


Are you sure you want to close your conversation?

Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window.

How would you rate your experience so far?


Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant (AVA) allows you to ask questions and get answers about your condition and how best to manage it. It’s based on over 80 years of our research and uses artificial intelligence to decide on the best responses to give you. The AVA is currently in ‘beta’ testing which means it’s still learning and will improve as more people use it.

The AVA provides general information. For further info, or if you have any concerns you should speak to a healthcare professional.

The AVA is intended for UK users. Medical practice may differ in different regions, so please seek local advice instead of using the AVA if you are outside the UK.

By using the AVA you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of use and consent to how we will use the information you provide.

See full terms
Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.
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Stronger painkillers for osteoarthritis

Prescription painkillers for osteoarthritis

If you have severe pain and other medications aren’t giving enough relief, your doctor may recommend stronger painkillers (or opioids) such as tramadol, nefopam or meptazinol.

Stronger painkillers are more likely to have side-effects – especially nausea, dizziness and confusion – so you’ll need to see your doctor regularly and report any problems you have.

Some opioids (for example fentanyl) can be given as a plaster patch which you place on your skin – these can ease pain for a number of days.

Prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for osteoarthritis

If joint inflammation is causing pain and stiffness, you may find a short course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example naproxen, useful.

Like all drugs, NSAIDs can sometimes have side-effects, but your doctor will take precautions to reduce the risk of these – for example, by prescribing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible period of time.

NSAIDs can cause digestive problems (stomach upsets, indigestion, or damage to the stomach lining) so in most cases they’ll be prescribed along with a drug called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), which will help to protect your stomach.

NSAIDs also carry an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Although the increased risk is small, your doctor will be cautious about prescribing them if there are other factors that may increase your overall risk – for example, smoking, circulation problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. NSAIDS can also reduce kidney function so you shouldn’t take them if you have known reduced kidney function or are on a water tablet (diuretic).

If you have trouble opening child-proof containers, your pharmacist will put your tablets in a more suitable container for you. You can order a special request card which you can hand to your pharmacist with your prescription.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question
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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.