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What is Arthrotec&Reg;?

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  • Written By: Andy Josiah
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Arthrotec® is the brand name for a medication used for treating arthritis. It is a combination of two agents, diclofenac sodium and misoprostol. The arthritis medication is manufactured as a tablet and is meant for oral administration.

One of Arthrotec®'s agents, diclofenac, is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which means it relieves pain and reduces fever. Specifically, diclofenac is responsible for reducing bodywide prostaglandins that are responsible for the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Prostaglandins, though, also create mucus that lines and protects the stomach, and its loss can lead to gastric ulcers. Misoprostol, a manmade prostaglandin, resupplies prostaglandin to the stomach and gastrointestinal tract to protect the body's gastrointestinal system from ulcers and other acid-related problems that taking diclofenac alone could induce.

Arthrotec® is particularly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This type of disorder primarily causes inflammation of the tissue around the body's free-moving joints, such as the elbows, knees and shoulders. RA, however, can spread to other organs in the body. It is a type of osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease associated with decreased movement and partial or complete wasting away of body parts.

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Patients take Arthrotec® in 50- or 75-milligram doses, twice or three times a day. Administering the drug with food and at least 8 ounces of water is ideal for preventing stomach upset and cutting the chance of diarrhea. Doctors usually recommend that those taking the medication should not lie down for at least 10 minutes after ingestion. It may take up to two weeks of regular use for the full benefits of Arthrotec® to be seen.

Side effects of Arthrotec® include stomach bleeding, abdominal pain, skin irritation, diarrhea, nausea and flatulence. Such signs can be worsened by crushing, chewing or dissolving the tablets. People who have a history of stomach ulcers or stomach or intestinal bleeding, suffer from high blood pressure or heart failure, or have liver or kidney problems are strongly discouraged from taking the medication. Doctors also do not permit people to take antacids with magnesium while using Arthrotec® because of the tendency of such a combination to worsen diarrhea.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Arthrotec® in 1997. The FDA places it in Category X of its classification of fetal injury, which is the highest level of risk that a pharmaceutical drug can receive. This means the agency forbids ingestion of Arthrotec® during pregnancy, because it can cause abnormalities to the fetus. In the most extreme cases, it can lead to miscarriage, infertility or death.

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