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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (cont.)

Medications

Medicine may relieve swelling, inflammation, and pain in the wrist or hand caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Reducing swelling in the wrist will relieve pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel and relieve your symptoms.

Medication choices

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly used medicines for carpal tunnel syndrome. They relieve pain and inflammation and are available with or without a prescription. They may take a few weeks to improve symptoms. They work best if your tendon is inflamed. NSAIDS don't relieve pressure on the medium nerve, but they may make you feel better.

Corticosteroids may be an effective treatment option when NSAIDs don't effectively relieve pain and inflammation.1 But these are powerful anti-inflammatory medicines. They have side effects that should be considered. Corticosteroids can be taken in pill form or injected into the wrist by a doctor.

What to think about

Medicine should be used with other measures (such as ice, rest, and splints) to reduce pain and inflammation.

Corticosteroids:

  • Usually aren't used until nonsurgical treatments (such as rest, ice, splints, and anti-inflammatory medicines) have been tried for several weeks with no improvement.
  • Often provide temporary relief (for several weeks or more). Injected corticosteroids usually provide longer-lasting results than those taken by mouth (oral). But oral or injected medicines rarely provide permanent relief from carpal tunnel symptoms.
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