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Psoriatic Arthritis treatment PDF Print E-mail

Currently modern medical science does not provide any cure to psoriatic arthritis.

All the treatments available are focused on and designed to minimize pain and stiffness.

Once your doctor diagnosed that yours is a case of psoriatic arthritis, he may recommend you the following line of medication.

Medicine: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs are type of medications that helps reduce pain and swelling of the joints and  decrease stiffness. However, they do not prevent further joint damage.

These medications are used to reduce pain and swelling. They include some of the oldest RA treatments, including coated acetylsalicylic acid, also known as ASA (Aspirin, Anacin, etc.) and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.), which you can buy without a prescription. If you have more severe pain and swelling, your doctor may prescribe a different kind of NSAID such as Naprosyn, Relafen, Indocid, Voltaren, Feldene, or Clinoril.

You may need to take NSAIDs for several weeks before they take effect completely. Sometimes these medications can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Elderly people, people with high blood pressure, people with kidney problems, people who have had a previous stomach ulcer, and people with congestive heart failure or those who have had a previous heart attack or stroke should talk to their doctor before taking any NSAID. NSAIDs can also interact with blood thinners such as warfarin. With the exception of small dose ASA for circulation problems, two different NSAIDs should not be taken at the same time.

COX-2 inhibitors (e.g. Celebrex) are a specific kind of NSAID that may be prescribed if traditional NSAIDs are hard on your stomach, or if you have experienced stomach ulcers. People who have had a heart attack or stroke or experienced serious chest pain related to heart disease should not use NSAIDs or COXIBs. If you are unsure, speak to your doctor to determine if this type of treatment is right for you. 

Medicine: Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS)

People with severe psoriatic arthritis are often given disease modifying  anti- rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). DMARDs try to stop psoriatic arthritis from getting  worse. They can take about one to three months before they make a difference in  the pain and swelling.

DMARDs are often prescribed to relieve severe symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. These medications are designed to prevent psoriatic arthritis from getting worse, but do not reverse permanent joint damage. It will usually take several months for DMARDs to make a noticeable improvement in the inflammation.

The most common DMARDs are gold salts, methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide (Arava®), hydroxychloroquinine, chloroquinine and azathioprine. DMARDs are often given along with other medications such as NSAIDs. Common side effects of DMARDs are mouth sores, diarrhea and nausea.

Medicine: Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are man-made drugs that closely resemble cortisone, a hormone natural produced by the body. In RA, these drugs are used to treat extreme inflammation that is accompanied by severe pain and stiffness. They are also used to treat systemic RA, which may affect the lining of the lungs and blood vessels.

Corticosteroids sometimes are given as injection into one or more joints or other areas of inflammation. While eliminating the serious side effects, injections may have their own harmful results on the joints if given more than a few times a year.

The most common form is prednisone, taken in pill form. Side effects from long term use may include cataracts, high blood pressure, sleep problems, muscle loss, bruising, thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), weight gain and susceptibility to infections. The goal with this and most drugs is to find the lowest effective dose that will avoid as many of the side effects as possible.

Medicine: Biologic Response Modifiers (“Biologics”)

Biologics are DMARDs that are made up of genetically modified proteins, based on substances that naturally occur in the body. They work by blocking specific parts of the immune system, called cytokines, which play a role in causing psoriatic arthritis. Biologics block one of two important cytokines, either tumor necrosis factor (TNF) or interleukin-1 (IL-1).

Biologics have been used for people with moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis, or for those who have not responded to conventional treatments. These drugs work quickly to ease inflammation and can be used in combination with other medications, such as DMARDs.

Biologics work by suppressing your immune system which can make it slightly harder for you to fight off infections.

Other side effects occasionally seen with these medications include mild skin reactions at the injection site, headaches or dizziness, colds or sinus infections, and nausea or diarrhea. Your doctor will discuss all of the other side effects of these medications before he or she prescribes them.

 
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