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 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 you will find treatments that you can use to alleviate the pain associated with it so that you can have a pain and ache free happy lifestyle. Using 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 remedies to help you, you need to be aware that there are only four different categories of arthritis drugs.
These are pain killers, NSAIDs, glucocorticoids (or steroids) and anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Frequently these rheumatoid arthritis medicines are used in conjunction with one another as a result 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 treat the inflammation and pain associated with the inflammation.
- They do not prevent or stop any damage to the joint.
- We all know these medications these people include: Aspirin, Anacin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to name a few.
- These are over the counter medicines (OTC) that have been around for decades.
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- They are often taken orally, every four to six hours.
- Depending on the strength of the medicine and the period of one's RA will determine the effectiveness of the OTC medicines.
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 development of COX-2 enzymes selectively help decrease the inflammation and provide effective relief with few side effects. The most popular is of course Celebrex.
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Most often it is the NSAIDs used in conjunction with the DMARDs to achieve successful relief. The DMARDs stop the assembly of cells in the immune system that causes pain and swelling. The DMARDs offers the many hope to RA sufferers, because if the disease is captured early sufficient and these meds tend to be started early it can put RA into remission.
DMARDs are all only available by prescription and a few of their names are: Imuran, Arava, Methotrexate, Hydroxchloroquine and Sulfasalazine. So that you can use these medicines they all require blood work to be done to watch the possible side effects. Depending on the medicine and the route that it is taken either orally or injected will dictate the type of side effects that you experience with the DMARDs.
There have been many concerned patients that have taken these medicines that have worried about the side effects and also the long term effect the medicine would have on them.
Studies over the years have shown that DMARDs are incredibly efficient 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 lab tests performed to monitor and control the risk of any kind of side effect. In the beginning DMARDs were thought to only be good for short term remedy, however now they are regarded as one of the best long terms treatment options patients have.
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The Next Set of Medications to be Able to Look At that Treat RA is the Steroids
Also referred to as the 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 dosage when taken orally and needs to be titrated down. It in no way recommended 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 and 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 in order to prescriptions.
- Many have minimal side effects and are effective.
- Talk to your doctor and plan your treatment together.