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Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Published: April 17, 2009

To E.J.: Osteoarthritis (OA) is often associated with aging and may also have a genetic component. It occurs when cartilage in the joints breaks down and causes pain. OA is irreversible and treated with pain killers such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, Celebrex, and others. Injections into the joint or joint replacement surgery may be indicated in severe cases. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is triggered by an autoimmune reaction in which the body’s immune system attacks joints and usually other organs in the body also. Treatments are aimed at stopping or slowing the overactive immune response to help control symptoms of the disease. Many RA treatments are fairly new to the market and do not yet have generic equivalents. As a result, you will notice more advertising for these drugs compared to those for OA.

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