Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of pain and disability. In the next decade, OA of the hands, knees and lower back is expected to be one of the major challenges of maintaining physical function and quality of life as the elderly population grows. Oral Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are a common therapy for OA, but because oral doses result in high drug levels throughout the body, drug interactions and side effects like gastrointestinal irritation can result. Oral NSAIDs are also a concern in patients who have declining kidney function. Therefore, topical NSAIDs like ketoprofen gel are preferred because topical NSAIDs provide pain relief at the site of application while avoiding high drug levels elsewhere in the body, and side effects are reduced. In general, gel-based formulations diffuse more quickly across the skin and are better absorbed into local tissues than ointments and creams. Gels also have better cosmetic acceptability since they spread and vanish more readily and don’t leave a greasy residue.
Ask our compounding pharmacist about the benefits of topical pain relievers, and which preparation might be best for your unique needs.
Reference: Pain Manag. 2018; 8(2):115–128
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