Rheumatoid Arthritis Medicine
Chronic inflammatory disease that causes joint swelling, pain and stiffness is called rheumatoid arthritis also known as RA. Do not confuse RA with another form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis. RA is caused by an autoimmune disorder where as osteoarthritis is because of the wear and tear we put on our own joints as we age.
Is important in order to understand that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by our immune system targeting cells in our joints that are not invaders, but are seen as such by the immune system. This is why it is called an autoimmune disease, it simply means that our body is attacking itself.
There is no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that you can use to alleviate the pain associated with it so that you can have a painless content lifestyle. The use of rheumatoid arthritis treatments is actually of great benefit. We are going to look at a few of the different types available to you.
When it comes to finding the right medicine to help you, you need to be aware that there are only four different categories of arthritis medications.
These tend to be pain killers, NSAIDs, glucocorticoids (or steroids) and anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Most often these rheumatoid arthritis medicines are used in conjunction with one another therefore it is very important that you talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
- The first line of medicines that are usually prescribed would be the NSAIDs which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.
- They are used to take care of the inflammation and pain associated with the inflammation.
- They do not prevent or stop any damage to the joint.
- We all know these drugs they will include: Aspirin, Anacin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to be able to name a few.
- These are over the counter medicines (OTC) that have been around for a long time.
- They are usually taken orally, every four to six hours.
- Depending on the strength of the medicine and the period of the RA will determine the effectiveness of the OTC medicines.
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There are prescriptions NSAIDs and these include: Feldene, Flurbiprofen, Relafen, Voltaren and Clinoril to be able to name a few. Doctors have also found that using COX2 inhibitors which block the assembly of COX-2 enzymes selectively help decrease the inflammation and provide effective relief with few side effects. The most popular is of course Celebrex.
Most often it is the NSAIDs used in conjunction with the DMARDs to achieve efficient relief. The DMARDs stop the development of cells in the immune system that causes pain and swelling. The DMARDs offers the most hope to RA sufferers, because if the disease is caught early sufficient and these medications are started early it can put RA into remission.
DMARDs are all only available by prescription and some of their names are: Imuran, Arava, Methotrexate, Hydroxchloroquine and Sulfasalazine. So that you can use these treatments they all require blood work to be done to evaluate the possible side effects. Depending on the medicine and the route that it is obtained possibly orally or injected will dictate the type of side effects that you experience with the DMARDs.
There have been many concerned patients that took these medicines that have worried about the side effects and also the long term effect the medicine could have on them.
Studies over the years have shown that DMARDs are incredibly effective in treating RA as well as that the side effects associated with any of the rheumatoid arthritis medicines are uncommon, part of this is due to the fact that there are frequent diagnostic tests performed to monitor and control the risk of virtually any side effect. In the beginning DMARDs were thought to only be good for short term therapy, however now they are thought to be one of the best long terms treatment options patients have.
The Next Set of Medications in Order to Look At that Treat RA is the Steroids
Also known as the actual corticosteroids, these are only used for extreme cases of inflammation as well as sever discomfort. Prednisone is the most commonly used steroid. Prednisone can be taken orally or by injection into the joint. Prednisone is normally titrated up in dose when taken orally and needs to be titrated down. It in no way suggested that once you are put on a steroid treatment that you just stop it.
Steroids also come with their own set of side effects that make most patients unhappy, including weight gain as well as what is known as the "moon face". These side effects generally go away after stopping the medicine. Prednisone is very effective though in helping alleviated pain and swelling in extreme cases.
There are Many Options Available to People Who are Suffering from RA
Your options range from over the counter medicines to be able to prescriptions. The majority of have minimal side effects as well as are effective. Talk to your doctor and plan your treatment together.