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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 is being developed into a brand new type of tool which will help you to get the answers you need for your type of arthritis.

This automated chat service is designed to provide general information about your condition and ways you can manage it. It’s been developed from over 80 years of our research work and also learns from the experiences of its users. It’s a ‘beta’ version which means it’s still learning from you, and others. It uses artificial intelligence to decide which are the best responses to give you and it will improve each time it’s used. The better the information we can provide then the more people we can help to manage their condition too.

The advice in this service isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice so we’d always recommend speaking to your doctor about your treatment. When you use the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you’ll be asked for your first name and the type of arthritis you have, there’s no need to tell us anything more personal than that.

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

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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Opioid analgesics

Opioid analgesics can be more effective for pain relief than simple non-opioid analgesics, so they’re used for moderate to severe pain, usually when other analgesics haven’t worked. Pain is considered to be severe if it’s disabling, meaning it interferes with your daily life and/or you have to take more frequent rests or can only walk or move awkwardly.

Commonly used opioids include codeine, morphine and tramadol.

Opioid analgesics are only available on prescription from your doctor. This is because they tend to cause more side-effects than simple analgesics and can lead to dependency and addiction. Your doctor will monitor you more closely when you're taking them.

How do I take them?

Opioid analgesics come in a tablet or patch. Your doctor will advise on which type is best for you depending on:

  • how severe your pain is
  • your age
  • any other medication that you’re taking.

In many cases opioid analgesics are used for short periods of time or alongside other painkillers when necessary. This is to reduce the risk of side-effects and dependency.

What are the possible risks and side-effects?

The most common side-effects with opioid painkillers are:

  • nausea and vomiting (some people are more prone to this than others, but it often settles with time)
  • constipation
  • drowsiness and dizziness, which is increased when combined with alcohol – be careful when driving and using electrical equipment
  • reduced concentration or confusion
  • reduced ability to breathe (respiratory depression) – make sure your doctor knows if you have long-term breathing problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.

If you experience any side-effects, talk to your doctor. All side-effects are more common in older people, so you may be given a lower dose.


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.