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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Medications

NSAIDs, Corticosteroids, and Other SI Joint Pain Medications

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There are several medications that can help you manage sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction. The medication you take will depend on your symptoms as well as the cause of your SI joint pain

Your doctor will most likely recommend an over-the-counter medication to help reduce SI joint pain and other symptoms before your try a prescription medication.

As always, before taking any new medication, let your doctor know about all of the medications, vitamins, and other supplements you’re taking. This is important because some medications have side effects or can interfere with other medications you take.

Over-the-Counter Medications for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

  • Acetaminophen can help reduce your pain, but it won’t help reduce inflammation. Tylenol is an example of acetaminophen that can be used to treat SI joint dysfunction.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation in your SI joints. An example of an NSAID used to treat SI joint dysfunction is ibuprofen (eg, Advil).

Prescription Medications for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
If over-the-counter medications don’t work for you, you may need a prescription medication. Your doctor will determine which prescription medication is right for you.

Corticosteroids are medications that can be taken orally or as an injection (the medication is injected into the SI joint). These are powerful anti-inflammatory medications, and for some people, they can provide months of pain relief.

Betamethasone (eg, Celestone) is an example of a corticosteroid that can be injected into your SI joint to help you cope with SI joint pain.

Corticosteroids have side effects, such as weight gain and osteoporosis, so talk to your doctor about whether they’re an option for you. Because of these side effects, you can have only a few steroid injections a year.

Find out more about steroid injections for SI joint pain in Sacroiliac Joint Injection Information.

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are sometimes prescribed if your SI joint pain is caused by ankylosing spondylitis or another type of inflammatory arthritis. These medications work by helping to slow the progression of the arthritis and modify the disease.

Methotrexate (eg, Rheumatrex) is an example of a DMARD used to treat SI joint pain caused by inflammatory arthritis.

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors—a newer class of DMARDs—can help modify arthritis by working on the immune system. As with traditional DMARDs, TNF-alpha inhibitors also work to slow down the progression of inflammatory arthritis.

Etanercept (eg, Enbrel) is an example of a TNF-alpha inhibitor that can be used to help you cope with SI joint dysfunction caused by inflammatory arthritis.

Antibiotics are sometimes used if you have an infection in your SI joint and it’s the cause of your SI joint pain.

Which Medication Is Right for You?
Your doctor will let you know which medication he or she recommends to help you cope with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. You made need to take a combination of medications to help you effectively manage your SI joint pain.

Updated on: 11/10/14
Jonathan N. Sembrano, MD
This article was reviewed by Jonathan N. Sembrano, MD.
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