Wednesday, July 24, 2024

What Injections Are Used For Rheumatoid Arthritis

What Other Treatments Should I Have

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Treatment | Johns Hopkins

Steroid injections can be part of your treatment. Depending on the condition being treated, a number of other medicines can be used in the treatment of inflammation of joints, tendons or other soft tissues. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy may also be helpful. Your practice nurse, GP or specialist will discuss your options with you.

How to use the Yellow Card Scheme

If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme. You can do this online at

The Yellow Card Scheme is used to make pharmacists, doctors and nurses aware of any new side-effects that medicines or any other healthcare products may have caused. If you wish to report a side-effect, you will need to provide basic information about:

  • The side-effect.
  • The name of the medicine which you think caused it.
  • The person who had the side-effect.
  • Your contact details as the reporter of the side-effect.

It is helpful if you have your medication – and/or the leaflet that came with it – with you while you fill out the report.

What Are The Potential Risks And Benefits Of Injectable Medications For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Biologic agents used to treat RA need to be injected. The biggest benefit of these drugs is that they are very effective.

  • Biologics not only relieve symptoms but also halt damage to joints and generally provide quick relief.
  • The biggest drawback of biological agents is cost. Patients can spend thousands of dollars a month using biologics.
  • Other drawbacks include side effects, which may be severe because biologics suppress the immune system, enhancing the possibility of infections.
  • In addition, patients may not like receiving injections.

Changes In Blood Test Results

Your healthcare provider should do blood tests before you start receiving ACTEMRA. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or giant cell arteritis , or systemic sclerosis-interstitial lung disease your healthcare provider should do blood tests 4 to 8 weeks after you start receiving ACTEMRA for the first 6 months and then every 3 months after that. If you have polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis you will have blood tests done every 4 to 8 weeks during treatment. If you have systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis you will have blood tests done every 2 to 4 weeks during treatment. These blood tests are to check for the following side effects of ACTEMRA:

  • Low neutrophil count: neutrophils are white blood cells that help the body fight infection
  • Low platelet count: platelets are blood cells that help with clotting, which stops bleeding
  • Increase in liver function test levels
  • Increase in blood cholesterol levels: your cholesterol levels should be checked 4 to 8 weeks after you start receiving ACTEMRA.

Your healthcare provider will determine how often you will have follow-up blood tests. Make sure you get all your follow-up blood tests done as ordered by your healthcare provider.

You should not receive ACTEMRA if your neutrophil and platelet counts are too low or your liver function test levels are too high. Changes in blood test results may cause your healthcare provider to stop your ACTEMRA treatment for a time or change your dose.

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How Was Treatment Given

Gold injections were injected into a muscle, usually the buttock, by a medical professional. Individuals needed to lie down during injection and wait for a few minutes before sitting up or standing to avoid lightheadedness.

The dosage depended on the persons medical condition, the severity of symptoms, and their response to treatment. Injections were given once a week until there was an improvement.

After that, they were given twice a month or less. If RA symptoms returned or worsened, then an individual went back to having the injections weekly.

Gold injection treatment needed to be used regularly for the best results. It could take up to 46 months before people saw significant results.

Due to the number and severity of side effects that they cause, doctors no longer use gold treatments to treat RA or other inflammatory conditions in the U.S. Doctors are prescribing other DMARDs instead, including methotrexate, which is considered safer.

Gold injections can cause side effects, including:

  • increased joint pain at the start of treatment

cause side effects. These include raised levels of liver enzymes, which may cause long-term liver problems, oral ulcers, and gut symptoms. However, taking folic acid on a daily basis can help reduce these side effects.

Some people, especially pregnant people, should not take methotrexate. A person should always discuss the use of the drug with a doctor to weigh up the risks and benefits.

What Happens If Steroid Injections Do Not Work

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If someone with RA gets a cortisone injection and they do not find much pain relief, they should not receive further injections. Someone with RA should only get repeat cortisone injections when they are getting significant pain relief for weeks to months.

If cortisone shots do not work for you, other treatment options may include:

  • Biologics, such as etanercept or infliximab
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, either over the counter or prescription
  • Rehabilitation therapies such as aerobic exercise, stretching, heat therapy, ice therapy, or electrical stimulation

It is important to note that there is often a wearing-off effect when it comes to steroid injections. One myRAteam member stated, Ive been getting cortisone injections in my knees every four months for about five years. They have been wearing off a little sooner each time.

If you receive steroid injections for many years, you should anticipate this wearing-off effect. If you experience it, talk with your doctor for other treatment options for your RA.

Also Check: What Over The Counter Medicine Works For Arthritis

Diclofenac Sodium Topical Gel

Voltaren gel 1% is an NSAID for topical use. This means you rub it on your skin. Its approved to treat joint pain, including in your hands and knees.

This drug causes similar side effects to oral NSAIDs. However, only about 4 percent of this drug is absorbed into your body. This means you may be less likely to have side effects.

How Do I Take It

Methotrexate is taken ONCE A WEEK. You will choose a day of the week, for example Saturday. You will then take your methotrexate every Saturday. The injection is available in 25mg/ml or 50mg/2ml vials. The usual dose is 7.5mg to 25mg per week. Methotrexate may be injected just under the skin or intramuscularly. Follow your rheumatologists directions. Do not take more or less medicine than ordered. You should also take 1mg of folate each day. Your rheumatologist will prescribe the folic acid. This will help prevent side effects.

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Other Immunomodulatory And Cytotoxic Agents

Some additional immunomodulatory drugs are used in RA including azathioprine , and cyclosporin A . Rarely cyclophosphamide and d-Penicillamine are used. Because the potential of high toxicity, these agents are typically utilized for life-threatening extra-articular manifestations of RA such as systemic vasculitis or with severe articular disease that is refractory to other therapy.

Azathioprine has some activity in rheumatoid arthritis but may take 8-12 weeks to see an effect. It is a purine analog that can cause bone marrow suppression and lowering of blood cell counts particularly in patients with renal insufficiency or when used concomitantly with allopurinol or ACE inhibitors. Increased risk of secondary malignancy due to azathioprine is controversial. Screening for levels of the enzyme thiopurine methyltransferase is recommended before initiating therapy with azathioprine. Certain individuals have deficiencies in this enzyme that metabolizes azathioprine with a concomitantly increased risk of toxicitiy for the medication. Side effects include nausea, and alopecia. Blood tests to monitor blood counts and liver function tests are necessary for patients on azathioprine.

Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis: Medication Alternative And Complementary Therapies Surgery Options And More

Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints.

Getty ImagesAnnals of Rheumatic DiseasesRheumatology International.

There’s no known cure for this condition. Treatment instead focuses on effectively stopping the progression of the disease in the following ways:

  • Reducing symptoms and long-term complications, such as pain and joint swelling
  • Getting joint inflammation under tight control or stopping it altogether
  • Minimizing joint and organ damage
  • Improving physical function and quality of life

Drugs, physical therapy, and surgery are proven therapies for rheumatoid arthritis.

Recommended Reading: How Do You Get Checked For Arthritis

General Information About Steroids For Ra

Steroids are technically called corticosteroids or glucocorticoids. Theyre synthetic compounds similar to cortisol, a hormone your adrenal glands produce naturally. Until just over 20 years ago, steroids were the standard treatment for RA.

But these standards changed as the harmful effects of steroids became known and new types of drugs were developed. The current RA guidelines of the American College of Rheumatology now advise doctors to avoid systematically prescribing glucocorticoids.

However, these steroids are often needed to help a patient with symptoms before they are given DMARDs. When used in this way, the steroid treatment should be given for the shortest amount of time possible at the lowest effective dose.

What Are The Treatment Options If Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications Are Not Working

Fortunately, if one RA drug is not working, there are others to switch to â and this commonly happens. Also, combinations of drugs sometimes work better than one drug alone.

To complement drug therapy, doctors recommend that patients with RA should engage in a regular exercise program to help strengthen joints and maintain flexibility. Physical therapy can also help develop a better range of motion in affected joints. The use of heat and/or cold can provide pain relief and loosen stiff joints. Massage, acupuncture, and rest may be useful in alleviating RA symptoms.

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How Do I Have Local Steroid Injections And How Long Do They Take To Work

Steroid injections can be given by your doctor . Most injections are quick and easy to perform but the injection must be given in a very clean environment to prevent infection.

You should rest the injected joint for 1-2 days after the injection and avoid strenuous activity for five days. The steroid injection can be repeated if the first injection is effective. However, you should not have more than four steroid injections into the same place in any 12-month period.

What Should You Do After A Self

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Care for your skin. Gently hold an alcohol pad where you injected yourself. Donât rub your skin with it. If you notice bleeding, put on a bandage.

Safely throw out the needle and syringe or auto-injector pen. Place these in a puncture-proof disposal container right away. You can buy this container at a pharmacy. Or you can use solid items like a coffee can or a leak-proof, closable milk jug.

Keep your needle disposal container out of reach of children and pets. Youâll want to get rid of it when itâs about three-fourths of the way full so it doesnât overflow and cause someone in your home to accidentally get stuck by a needle. Call up your local trash removal service or health department and ask what you should do to get your container collected by professionals.

Give yourself some TLC. If youâre not bleeding from the shot, give the body part you injected a gentle rub or massage. It could help loosen up your muscles and get the medication moving through your body.

If the spot where you injected yourself hurts a bit, you can put a warm or cold compress on it to get some relief.

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Remember Tell Your Doctor Right Away If You Have An Infection Or Symptoms Of An Infection Including:

  • Fever, sweats, or chills
  • Warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body
  • Diarrhea or stomach pain
  • Urinating more often than normal
  • Feeling very tired

HUMIRA is given by injection under the skin.

This is the most important information to know about HUMIRA. For more information, talk to your health care provider.


HUMIRA is a prescription medicine used:

  • To reduce the signs and symptoms of:
  • Moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone, with methotrexate, or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.
  • Moderate to severe polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children 2 years of age and older. HUMIRA can be used alone or with methotrexate.
  • Psoriatic arthritis in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis in adults.
  • Moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa in people 12 years and older.
  • To treat moderate to severe Crohns disease in adults and children 6 years of age and older.
  • To treat moderate to severe ulcerative colitis in adults and children 5 years of age and older. It is not known if HUMIRA is effective in people who stopped responding to or could not tolerate anti-TNF medicines.
  • US-HUM-210186


    How Should I Use Simponi

    Use Simponi exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

    If you have ever had tuberculosis or hepatitis B, golimumab can cause these conditions to come back or get worse. You should be tested for these conditions before you start using golimumab.

    Simponi is sometimes given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this type of injection once every 4 to 8 weeks.

    Simponi may also be injected under the skin once every 2 to 4 weeks. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

    Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Do not use this medicine if you don’t understand all instructions for proper use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.

    Prepare your injection only when you are ready to give it. Do not use if the medicine has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

    Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject Simponi. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

    Golimumab can weaken your immune system. Your blood will need to be tested often.

    Store the medication in its original carton in the refrigerator, do not freeze. Protect from light.

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    How Often Can You Get A Cortisone Shot

    Cortisone injected too often into the same part of the body can lead to weak tendons, ligaments, and bones.

    Local injections should not be given more than once every three or four months. Whole-body injections should not be given more than six times per year. This helps to decrease the risk of potential side effects from injections. It also helps to decrease the risk of a weakened immune system from prolonged cortisone use.

    Side effects from large doses and repetitive injections include:

    • Skin or tissue thinning at the injection site

    People who use other corticosteroid drugs like prednisone or a steroid inhaler should have either fewer injections per year or lower doses per injection. This helps to decrease the risk of any side effects.

    Steroids And Immunisation/ Vaccination

    Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis Nursing | Symptoms, Pathophysiology, Treatment Mnemonic NCLEX
    • It is recommended that protection against pneumococcal infections is important. These can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia or meningitis. Protection is best given before steroids begin but it is possible for this immunisation to be given during low dose steroid treatment
    • The annual flu vaccination is also recommended
    • In general, if you are on steroids, immunisation is only possible with a low dose regimen of steroids. There is no evidence that immunisation will worsen RA
    • For anyone who is immunosuppressed live vaccines cannot be given. These are measles, mumps, rubella , chickenpox, oral polio , BCG, oral typhoid and yellow fever. If steroids have not yet been started it is important to seek advice on how long a gap to leave after having a live vaccine

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    Getting Started: What To Know About Biologics For Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Biologic drugs are genetically engineered proteins that target the parts of the immune system that promote inflammatory processes. They act like natural proteins in your immune system and are considered aggressive treatments for rheumatoid arthritis .

    They are often prescribed to people with moderate to severe RA who have not improved using traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs . Biologics are either taken alone or with other RA medications.

    In this article, we will discuss what RA is, available biologic treatments for RA, what to expect from these drugs, how to get started, and other considerations, like when you can expect to see improvement, costs, and more.

    Verywell / Zoe Hansen

    What Should I Watch For After Starting Humira

    HUMIRA can cause serious side effects, including:

    Common side effects of HUMIRA include injection site reactions , upper respiratory infections , headaches, rash, and nausea. These are not all of the possible side effects with HUMIRA. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

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    What About Other Medications

    When you are taking methotrexate, it is very important that your doctors know if you are taking any other medicine. This includes prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as birth control pills, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Methotrexate can be taken with other medications. You should not take methotrexate while taking antibiotics containing trimethoprim-sulfa . If you are prescribed one of these medications for an infection, do not take your methotrexate that week.

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