Rheumatoid diseases are caused when the immune system attacks the healthy cells and tissues of the body. Inflammation is a common symptom, and most treatments focus on reducing it. Rheumatology arthritis is usually managed using DMARDs and NSAIDs. Of these, NSAIDs only reduce the severity of inflammation to provide relief and hence have been used as a first-line treatment option for many decades. Nonetheless, they cannot cure the disease or prevent joint damage. Read on to know more.
NSAIDs, DMARDs, And Steroids
Steroids are commonly used for treating inflammatory diseases, but on long term usage, they cause side effects like fatigue and body ache. This is because, when you take them for more than a few weeks, it stops or reduces the production of the hormone cortisol. Due to this, physicians ask their patients to stop taking steroid medicines by tapering, i.e. gradually reducing doses.
NSAIDs are used for inflammation because they do not affect the secretion of cortisol, but they increase the chances of other health issues. For instance, it causes stomach issues like ulcers and increases the chances of bleeding due to blood thinning. Apart from this, some of its side-effects are heart attacks, kidney function impairment, and strokes, but these are less common.
Even though DMARDs are widely used for their benefits, they have potential side-effects. They interact with the immune system to manage the autoimmunity causing rheumatology diseases; this makes you more susceptible to infections. Also, taking them during pregnancy can cause the termination of pregnancy or birth defects. People change or augment their rheumatology arthritis treatment mainly due to the side effects of NSAIDs and steroids.
Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
DMARDs are also known as biologics, and they reduce inflammation by targeting the immune system. They prevent the immune system from producing an inflammatory response due to autoimmunity. This is because they behave like the proteins naturally produced by our bodies. Also, they make you more susceptible to infections, and hence they are used along with standard rheumatology arthritis medicines.
Listed below are some of the biologics used for treating rheumatology arthritis:
- Infliximab (Remicade)
- Abatacept (Orencia)
- Golimumab (Simponi)
- Tocilizumab (Actemra)
- Anakinra (Kineret)
- Certolizumab (Cimzia)
- Adalimumab (Humira)
- Etanercept (Enbrel)
- Rituximab (Rituxan)
Each biologic drug that is mentioned above targets different components of the immune system to stop rheumatology arthritis; most of them are administered by injection.
On a final note, rheumatology arthritis is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured, and early diagnosis is the key to the success in its treatment.