An anti-inflammatory is a substance that decreases inflammation.
Anti-inflammatories may be sold as pills, lotions, gels or creams, suppositories or injections. eg steroidal anti-inflammatories such as cortisone, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (NSAIDS).
Many natural dietary supplements also have anti-inflammatory effects.
These drugs are very commonly prescribed and many can be bought over the counter. Studies show that there is very little to choose between them overall, but one type may suit a patient better than another.
All are known to have side effects, the most common being that of stomach irritation.
Steroidal anti-inflammatories include substances related to cortisone, like methylprednisolone acetate. In osteoarthritis of the knee, these are usually administered via injections into the joint (intra-articular) but for severe knee conditions like rheumatoid arthritis steroids may be given by mouth over a long period of time.
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