Knowledge of the properties of the new medication, absorption rate, time to reach maximum blood level, and excretion rate help to give a general idea of the time needed for maximum effectiveness. Unfortunately there is no precise time table that applies to all patients.
This rule applies to the most commonly used class of shorter acting arthritic drugs (NSAIDs), as well as longer acting disease modifying drugs (DNARDS). Pain medication should be effective in 24 hours.
If an NSAID does not relieve symptoms within one week, a switch to another NSAID may be in order. Disease modifying agents may take up to two months to see effectiveness. Never change medication without first discussing this with your doctor.
Interview with rheumatologist Dr. Raymond Federman, aka Dr. Bones.