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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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> > > > What types of painkillers are there?

What types of painkillers are there?

Most pain-relieving medications fall into one of the following groups:

  • Non-opioid analgesics – e.g. paracetamol (widely available over the counter from pharmacies and supermarkets)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – e.g. aspirinibuprofen (widely available over the counter); naproxen, diclofenac (only available on prescription)
  • Compound analgesics – e.g. co-codamol, which combines paracetamol with a dose of an opioid analgesic such as codeine (compounds containing lower doses of codeine are available over the counter from pharmacies)
  • Opioid analgesics – e.g. codeine, tramadol, morphine (only available on prescription).

Usually, your doctor will suggest you try non-opioid analgesics and/or NSAIDs first. If these don't help, or if you sometimes need stronger pain medications, then compound analgesics will usually be the next step for moderate pain, followed by opioid analgesics for very severe pain. The reason for this approach is that the stronger medications tend to have more side-effects and can sometimes cause dependency.

The drugs covered in these pages will help with the symptoms of pain and/or inflammation but won’t cure arthritis or other long-term pain conditions. Depending on the condition you have, you may need other drugs alongside your pain relief medications to control the disease itself.

You don't need to wait until your pain is severe to use painkillers. Analgesics often won't be as effective as they could be if you don't take them soon enough or often enough. Follow the instructions your doctor gives you or the instructions on the packet.

You can also take painkillers before you exercise so you can carry on without too much discomfort.

What are approved and brand names?

Painkillers may be available under several different names. Each drug has an approved name but manufacturers often give drugs their own brand name too.

Examples of approved and brand names

Approved name
Brand name
Paracetamol Panadol

The approved name should always be on the pharmacist's label even if a brand name appears on the packaging, but check with your healthcare professional if you’re not sure. We'll use the approved names in the sections that follow.


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.

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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.