Medicines are used to ease swelling in the carpal tunnel. Here are the basics about each of the medicines below. Only common problems with them are listed.

Prescription Medicines

Glucocorticoids

  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Triamcinolone
  • Dexamethasone

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Indomethacin
  • Naproxen
  • Celecoxib

Cortisone injection

Over-the-counter Medicines

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)–lower doses

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Piroxicam
  • Sulindac

Prescription Medicines

 

Glucocorticoids

These medicines can help to ease swelling. They can have side effects when taken for a long time. This is why they are often used for a short time.

Common names are:

  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Dexamethasone
  • Triamcinolone
 

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs also help to ease swelling. They can be taken for a long time, but they do have side effects. There are many types of NSAIDs. Each is slightly different.

Some common names are:

  • Indomethacin
  • Naproxen
  • Celecoxib

NSAIDs can cause problems in people who have had an ulcer or gastritis.

 

"Cortisone" Injection

A cortisone injection delivers synthetic glucocorticoid medicine into the carpal tunnel. It can ease swelling and pressure. It may be used when other methods do not ease pain.

Bleeding and infection can happen from injections. This is rare.

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Lower doses of NSAIDs are:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Piroxicam

NSAIDs can cause problems in people who have had an ulcer or gastritis.

REFERENCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Clinical Practice Guideline on the Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. AAOS 2016 Feb.

Carpal tunnel syndrome. American Society for Surgery of the Hand website. Available at: https://handcare.assh.org/Anatomy/Details-Page/ArticleID/27950/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome. Published 2015. Accessed November 20, 2019.

Carpal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/carpal-tunnel-syndrome. Updated June 24, 2019. Accessed November 20, 2019.

Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm. Updated August 13, 2019. Accessed November 20, 2019.

Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD  Last Updated: 11/20/2019