Below are some questions that counselors at the University of Alabama Birmingham Arthritis Information Service (AIS) have frequently been asked by arthritis patients. If you are interested in looking at additional questions and answers, visit the Arthritis Foundation.

Q: My doctor told me that I have degenerative arthritis. What is this?

A: Degenerative arthritis is also known as osteoarthritis. It is a condition in which the cartilage that acts as a cushion in your joints begins to disintegrate.

Q: My doctor told me that I have arthritis. I don't remember the exact type of arthritis I have. Does this mean that my joints are going to become deformed?

A: It is important that you find out the exact name of the type of arthritis that you have. There are over 100 types of arthritis. The treatment and prognosis varies depending on the specific type of arthritis that you have. When you confirm the type of arthritis that you have, be sure to look at our What is Arthritis? page within this website to find out more about your specific condition.

Q: My doctor gave me a prescription for a new drug to treat my arthritis and I can't afford it. Is there any way I can get help in paying for this drug?

A: Many drug companies have patient assistance programs that are designed to help persons pay for expensive prescription medications. The patient usually needs to complete some forms that provide information about their income/resources. The patient's physician will also have to provide some documentation about the patient's condition. Each company has slightly different procedures. The Arthritis Foundation has some useful information related to financial aid. You may want to check this out.

Q: My doctor gave me a new medication for my arthritis, but it doesn't seem to be working very well. Is it okay for me to stop taking it/take more?

A: Some medications, particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) take some time to reach an effective level in your body. The length of time can vary depending on the type of drug, but some can take up to one month before you will begin to see improvement. It is important that you let your doctor's office know if you are having increased pain or swelling. It is also important for you to discuss stopping or increasing you medication with your doctor before you make any changes. Each person responds in an individual way to medications; the only way that your doctor will be aware that the medication he/she has prescribed is working or not working for you is for you to let them know. There are many different types of arthritis medications, so you may have to try several before you find one that works best for you. The important thing is to let your doctor know how the medicine is working for you.

Page last updated: April 9, 2017