Skip to main content
Blog logo stating "The Inside Scoop"

Get the Inside Scoop on tips & tricks that may help your family save on prescriptions!

Woman looking in mirror and trying on clothes
Health Tips for Women

What You Need to Know to Determine the Best Medicine for Inflammation


Inflammation can be caused by a number of medical conditions. Understanding what’s causing your inflammation is key to finding the right treatment for you. Your doctor will prescribe the best medicine for inflammation depending on your situation but read below to learn more about how this decision is made.

Inflammation is not a disease or condition but a process by which the body defends itself against outside invaders, like viruses and bacteria. There are two types of inflammation: Acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation typically goes away on its own within a few hours or days. However, sometimes the body continues to send out inflammatory cells long after the trigger for inflammation is gone.

Read on to learn about the common types of chronic inflammation medication as well as how doctors determine the best medicine for inflammation to prescribe to their patients.

Best Medicine for Inflammation: How Is Chronic Inflammation Managed?

While acute or short-term inflammation is part of the healing process, chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases. These include rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. For this reason, it’s important to get chronic inflammation under control.

As part of a patient’s treatment plan, a doctor may prescribe one or more of the following types of medication.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs are among the most commonly used drugs in the United States. In fact, approximately 29 million Americans use over-the-counter NSAIDs for pain relief.

There are two kinds of NSAIDs: traditional and COX-2 inhibitors. Traditional NSAIDs work by blocking the production of the enzymes Cox-1 and Cox-2. The body uses these enzymes to produce prostaglandins, chemicals that contribute to inflammation and pain.

Meanwhile, COX-2 inhibitors only block the COX-2 enzyme. Because experts believe that COX-1 helps protect the stomach lining, COX-2 inhibitors may be less likely to irritate the stomach lining.

Doctors may recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs for acute inflammation. However, they may prescribe stronger NSAIDs for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The following are some examples of prescription-strength NSAIDs:

Generic Name Brand Name
Ketorolac tromethamine Toradol®
Fenoprofen Nalfon®
Celecoxib Celebrex®
Diclofenac Voltaren®
Indomethacin Indocin®


These medications are mainly prescribed to reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids suppress the immune system, which is why they’re also prescribed for autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, in which the immune system attacks normal cells.

Conditions that may be treated with corticosteroids include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Allergies
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Addison’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Hives

The following are some examples of corticosteroids:

Generic Name Brand Name
Prednisone PredniSONE Intensol™, Rayos®, Sterapred®
Methylprednisolone Medrol®
Budesonide Entocort® EC, Tarpeyo®
Dexamethasone Decadron®, Dexamethasone Intensol®, Dexpak®, Taperpak®
Hydrocortisone Cortef®


Methotrexate belongs to the drug class antimetabolites. It was originally developed as a cancer drug in the 1940s. Today, it is a first-line treatment for several inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

Methotrexate is thought to work by suppressing the activity of the immune system. This helps reduce inflammation. It is also considered a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), which means it can slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Apart from rheumatoid arthritis, methotrexate may also be prescribed for Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. It is available in generic form and under the following brand names:

5-Aminosalicylic Acid Derivatives (5-ASA)

5-ASA are drugs that reduce inflammation in the colon. They affect the production of prostaglandin and inhibit the function of inflammatory cells. 5-ASA inflammation medication is prescribed for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Here are some examples of 5-ASA inflammation medication:

Generic Name Brand Name
Sulfasalazine Azulfidine®
Mesalamine Apriso®, Asacol HD®, Delzicol®, Lialda®, Pentasa®
Olsalazine Dipentum®
Balsalazide Colazal®


This inflammation medication belongs to the retinoid drug class. It is available as a topical skin preparation and is typically prescribed for acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

Tazarotene’s exact mechanism of action is unknown. However, it is highly effective at reducing redness and decreasing inflammation. This inflammation medication comes in cream, foam, and gel forms.

Tazarotene is available as a generic drug. It is also sold under several brand names in the U.S., including:

Other Ways to Manage Inflammation

Doctors prescribe inflammation medication as part of chronic inflammation management. These help reduce the risk of long-term damage and complications as well as treat symptoms.

However, people with chronic inflammation can also take a more active role in the management of their conditions. For instance, eating healthy and exercising are often prescribed along with medication to control inflammation.

How Doctors Determine the Best Medicine for Inflammation to Prescribe

The best medicine for inflammation depends on the individual as well as the type, cause, and severity of their condition. Generally, when prescribing inflammation medicine, doctors consider several factors. These may include the following:

  • Your health or any other conditions you have
  • Any other medications you are taking
  • Allergies to medication or food
  • Potential risks of the medication
  • Potential benefits of the medication
  • The goal of treatment

Not all doctors factor in the cost of prescription inflammation medication when prescribing. If out-of-pocket medication expenses are a concern, don’t hesitate to bring them up with your doctor during your appointment.

Your care provider may be able to prescribe medication that works just as well but is cheaper, like generic versions of name-brand inflammation drugs. Additionally, they may be able to direct you to resources and tools, like patient assistance programs (PAPs) and prescription discount cards, to help ensure you can afford to take your medication as prescribed.

Start Saving on Inflammation Medicine With Inside Rx

Most patient assistance programs (PAPs) have strict eligibility requirements, limiting the number of people who can benefit from them. If signing up for a PAP is not possible for you, consider using the Inside Rx discount card.

Inside Rx is a savings program designed to help patients save money on their out-of-pocket prescription medication costs. Users can get discounts of up to 80 percent on their brand and generic medications at more than 60,000 participating pharmacies nationwide and in Puerto Rico.

What’s more, Inside Rx is free to download and use. It does not expire and can be used by any member of your household–no lengthy signup or application process is required.

To get started, visit the Inside Rx website and download your savings card.


Sign up for the Inside Scoop to hear about our latest news, medications and savings opportunities!

Save up to 80% on brand & generic medications.