Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is an autoimmune disease that is commonly found in a large number of people, is characterized by the abnormal behavior of the immune system, where it attacks the healthy tissues in the body. This condition mainly affects the joints and damages synovium which is a thin layer of cells that cover the joints. This layer will become sore and inflamed, and it will release a chemical as a result of this which can damage your bones, ligaments, tendons, etc. Therefore, this disease can cause pain, inflammation and swelling in your joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured completely, however, by controlling the symptoms associated with this disease; you can effectively prevent its development. Hence, we are listing some of the common medications and treatments that are advised by the doctors for rheumatology arthritis.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is a common medicine that is often prescribed by doctors for rheumatology arthritis. These medications are used for controlling the pain and inflammation associated with this condition; however, it does not slow down rheumatoid arthritis. You will have to take some other medications along with this drug for preventing further damage to your joints.
NSAIDs that are widely used include naproxen and ibuprofen. People with arthritis usually need prescription NSAIDs, as this drug will be commonly used in higher doses for providing long-lasting effects. But you will need only fewer doses of these medicines throughout the whole day.
However, you have to be careful when using NSAIDs, as they can have different side effects. All these medications have a warning about the increased risk of different heart diseases including stroke and heart attack. They can also raise your blood pressure and result in many other problems including ulcers, stomach irritation, and bleeding. Therefore, you have to consult a doctor before using these drugs. A doctor will compare the benefits and potential risks of NSAIDs for prescribing a drug for you. You might have to try different NSAIDs for finding the right one for you.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are useful for slowing down or stopping RA from getting worse. Usually, methotrexate will be primarily prescribed by the doctors for treating rheumatology arthritis, and if this medicine alone cannot reduce the inflammation, they will change or add other medications along with this one. Other DMARDs include leflunomide (Arava), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).
As mentioned above RA is caused by an overactive immune system that attacks joints and other parts of your body. DMARDs can be useful in reducing the activity of the immune system, but this will lead to other problems. If the activity of your immune system is reduced, you will become vulnerable to the attack of bacteria and other foreign agents that can create different diseases and damage your health.
If the above medications do not work, doctors will prescribe you biologics, which are genetically engineered proteins. They have the ability to block certain parts of the immune system that is responsible for the inflammation associated with rheumatology arthritis. It can be used for controlling different rheumatology symptoms and it also helps with slowing down or stopping the development of RA. Different biologics are available that can target different parts of your immune system. Some of them include Adalimumab (Humira), Anakinra (Kineret), Adalimumab-atto (Amjevita), Certolizumab (Cimzia), Baricitinib (Olumiant) and Etanercept (Enbrel).
As biologics suppress the activity of the immune system, they increase the risk of infections. Severe infections have been reported in association with biologics.
For severe rheumatoid arthritis or when its symptoms flare, your doctor might advise steroids for easing the stiffness and pain of the affected joints. In most cases, these medications are used to temporarily calm down the flare-up of symptoms. But some people might need to take steroids for longer periods to control the pain and inflammation caused by RA.
You may either choose to get a shot of steroids directly into the inflamed joint for fast relief or take them in the form of pills. These are not the type of steroids that result in your muscles to bulk up. Steroids can also cause different side effects, they include osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and diabetes. But if these medications are used appropriately, they can be helpful in quickly reducing pain and inflammation.
Other Treatments For RA
In addition to different drugs, there are a lot of other treatments you can do for controlling RA. They include:
If your joints are severely damaged, you might need a replacement surgery for your joints. This will be greatly helpful for you to reduce pain and improve mobility.
Therapy can be useful for controlling pain and inflammation. It includes cold and hot therapies, massage, etc. You can learn to do them yourself or seek the help of a therapist. You can include them in your daily activities for effectively controlling the pain and other symptoms associated with rheumatology arthritis.