How Well Do The Drugs Work Are They Dangerous
All the drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis have been tested and have been proven useful in patients who have the disease. However, they all work on a different aspect of the inflammatory process seen in rheumatoid arthritis and their use as well as their side effects — depends on the current disease status of each patient and any associated medical problems that a patient may have. The effectiveness and the risks of drugs are considered when your rheumatologist plans your treatment.
If a drug is very effective in treating an illness but causes a lot of side effects, it is not an ideal treatment for long-term use. For example, high doses of corticosteroids can make people with rheumatoid arthritis feel dramatically better. However, high doses of corticosteroids may cause serious side effects when taken over many months or years. Steroids have many possible side effects, including weight gain, worsening diabetes, promotion of cataracts in the eyes, thinning of bones , and an increased risk of infection. Thus, when steroids are used, the goal is to use the lowest possible dose for the shortest period of time.
Testing for tuberculosis is necessary before starting anti-TNF therapy. People who have evidence of an earlierTB infection should be treated because there is an increased risk of developing active TB while receiving anti-TNF therapy.
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.
Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis: Medication Alternative And Complementary Therapies Surgery Options And More
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints.
Annals 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.
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Can I Cut Back On My Ra Medications If I Feel Ok
If pain and stiffness start to fade, you may wonder if you can change your medications.
RA is a long-term condition, and medicine keeps your symptoms under control. But with guidance from their doctor, some people may be able to lower the amount of medication they take.
When was your last flare?
Studies show that people who stop their RA medicine are likely to have a flare of symptoms 4 to 8 weeks later. If your disease stays active, you’re more likely to get permanent joint damage.
Your doctor will want to know how long it’s been since you had any problems. Theyâll also do some tests. If everything looks good, your doctor may slowly lower the dose of your medications, usually starting with NSAIDs.
You want to keep a constant and effective level of your RA drugs in your system, so if you are able to cut back on your medicine, it would be a slow change. It helps if you take your medicine at the same time every day.
Do you have any trouble with side effects from your meds?
If so, tell your doctor about them. They may be able to adjust your medicine. For example, many drugs used to treat RA can cause an upset stomach. To help, your doctor may suggest that take it at a different time or with food. They may also recommend medication to ease nausea and help with stomach acid.
Do you use reminders to help you take medicine on time?
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. Use of heat and/or cold can provide pain relief and loosen stiff joints. Massage, acupuncture, and rest all may be useful in alleviating RA symptoms.
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How Should I Use Humira
Use Humira 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.
Humira is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider will teach you how to properly use this medicine by yourself.
Do not start using this medicine if you have any signs of an infection. Call your doctor for instructions.
Read and carefully follow any instruction sheet provided with your medicine. Do not use Humira if you do not understand the instructions for proper use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
The dose schedule for Humira is highly variable and depends on the condition you are treating. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions very carefully.
Prepare your injection only when you are ready to give it. Do not use if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed color, or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Humira affects your immune system. You may get infections more easily, even serious or fatal infections. Your doctor will need to examine you on a regular basis.
Store this medicine in its original carton in a refrigerator. Do not freeze. If you are traveling, carefully follow all patient instructions for storing your medicine during travel. Avoid extreme heat or cold.
Throw away any Humira that has become frozen.
Usual Adult Dose for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Articles On Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive inflammatory disease that affects the joints. It gets worse over time unless the inflammation is stopped or slowed. Only in very rare cases does rheumatoid arthritis go into remission without treatment.
Arthritis medications play an essential role in controlling the progression and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Starting treatment soon after diagnosis is most effective. And the best medical care combines rheumatoid arthritis medications and other approaches.
You may take rheumatoid arthritis medications alone, but they are often most effective in combination. These are the main types of RA medications:
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
- Biologic response modifiers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
In the past, doctors took a conservative, stepwise approach toward treating rheumatoid arthritis. They started first with NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. Then, they progressed to more potent RA drugs for people who showed signs of joint damage.
Today, doctors know that an aggressive approach is often more effective it will result in fewer symptoms, better function, less joint damage, and decreased disability. The goal, if possible, is to put the disease into remission.
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Side Effects Of Chemotherapy Drugs
Chemotherapy drugs may come with a number of side effects. Most RA treatments using chemotherapy employ a lower dose of the drugs, and the side effects may be less severe than normal. Side effects can include:
- Hair loss
Chemotherapy drugs suppress the immune system and decrease the number of white blood cells in the body, which can put you at an increased risk of infection. The exact risk depends on which drugs are used, the dosage, your age, and any other underlying health conditions.
Chemotherapy drugs also have the potential to increase your risk of developing cancer. This rarely happens with RA drugs such as Imuran, Cytoxan, and methotrexate, but all three have been linked to a risk of developing lymphoma . People with RA who take methotrexate are also more likely to develop lymphoma if they have been infected with the Epstein-Barr virus.
Chemotherapy drugs affect bone marrow cells, which are responsible for making new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. With some treatments, your doctor or rheumatologist will run blood tests to check your blood cell counts.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include the following:
- Stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods
Rheumatoid arthritis affects each person differently. In most people, joint symptoms may develop gradually over several years. In other people, rheumatoid arthritis may proceed rapidly. A few people may have rheumatoid arthritis for a limited period of time and then go into remission .
Cartilage normally acts as a shock absorber between the joints. Uncontrolled inflammation causes the destruction and wearing down of the cartilage, which leads to joint deformities. Eventually, the bone itself erodes, potentially leading to fusion of the joint . This process is aided by specific cells and substances of the immune system, which are produced in the joints but also circulate and cause symptoms throughout the body.
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How Do You Take It
You can take methotrexate in either pills or shots. There are prefilled methotrexate shots that are easy to take at home.
You will take 7.5 to 10 milligrams each week. Your doctor may raise that to 20-25 milligrams per week if needed.
The pills will come with directions about how many to take and when. If youâre not sure about those instructions, ask your doctor or a pharmacist.
Shots work better for some people, especially if you forget to take your pills on schedule or if the pills cause nausea. Methotrexate liquid comes in vials with a hypodermic needle or in prefilled pens with various doses.
You inject the drug under the skin on your stomach or thigh. Your doctor or nurse will show you how to do this at home. If you use a prefilled pen, youâll stick the pen into your stomach or thigh and press on it to inject the drug. Try to give yourself your shot in a different spot each time. This will help you avoid skin reactions.
It can take 3 to 6 weeks to start to feel your methotrexate work. It takes even longer — 12 weeks — to get the full effects.
What Are Tips For Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Early and aggressive treatment tends to result in an optimal outcome.
- Understand how your rheumatoid arthritis, as well as the effects and side effects of its treatment, will be monitored.
- Maintain a working relationship with your treating doctor. Consider consulting with a rheumatologist.
- Have a game plan for addressing flare-ups of rheumatoid inflammation.
- Preplan your treatment options for travel with your doctor.
- Review with your doctor any concerns about your rheumatoid arthritis, its influence on your lifestyle activities, your avocations, and your long-term life goals.
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What Is The Prognosis For Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
- With early, aggressive treatment, the outlook for those affected by rheumatoid arthritis can be very good.
- The overall attitude regarding the ability to control the disease has changed tremendously since the turn of the century. Doctors now strive to eradicate any signs of active disease while preventing flare-ups.
- The disease can be controlled and a cooperative effort by the doctor and patient can lead to optimal health.
- Rheumatoid arthritis causes disability and can increase mortality and decrease life expectancy to lead to an early death.
- Patients have a less favorable outlook when they have deformity, disability, ongoing uncontrolled joint inflammation, and/or rheumatoid disease affecting other organs of the body.
- Overall, rheumatoid arthritis tends to be potentially more damaging when rheumatoid factor or citrulline antibody is shown by blood testing. Life expectancy improves with earlier treatment and monitoring.
- Finally, minimizing emotional stress can help improve the overall health of people with rheumatoid arthritis. Support and extracurricular groups provide those with rheumatoid arthritis time to discuss their problems with others and learn more about their illness.
Is there a cure for RA?
No, rheumatoid arthritis is not a curable disease at this time. As the science of genetics and disease, as well as autoimmunity, evolve, it is very likely that cures for rheumatoid arthritis will become available.
How Cognitive Therapy Can Help
Because one of the most trying aspects of rheumatoid arthritis is learning to live with pain, many doctors recommend pain management training. They may call it âcognitive therapy.â
The goal is to improve your emotional and psychological well-being as you develop ways to relax, handle stress, and pace yourself. For instance, it may include activity scheduling, guided imagery, relaxation, distraction, and creative problem-solving.
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Types Of Medication That Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
When prescribing a medication, a physician will take into account the patients age, disease activity, and other medical conditions, but each patient is unique. Figuring out which medication or combination of medications work best for an individual can be challenging and often requires a process of trial and error.
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated
The goals of rheumatoid arthritis treatment are to:
- Control a patient’s signs and symptoms.
- Prevent joint damage.
- Maintain the patients quality of life and ability to function.
Joint damage generally occurs within the first two years of diagnosis, so it is important to diagnose and treat rheumatoid arthritis in the window of opportunity to prevent long-term consequences.
Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include medications, rest, exercise, physical therapy/occupational therapy, and surgery to correct damage to the joint.
The type of treatment will depend on several factors, including the person’s age, overall health, medical history, and the severity of the arthritis.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs: Biologic Response Modifiers
Biologic response modifiers are a type of DMARD. They target the part of the immune system response that leads to inflammation and joint damage. By doing this, they can improve your condition and help relieve symptoms.
These RA medications can’t cure rheumatoid arthritis. If the drugs are stopped, symptoms may return. But just as with other DMARDs, biologic response modifiers may slow the progression of the disease or help put it into remission. If your doctor prescribes one of these RA drugs, you will likely take it in combination with methotrexate. Biologic response modifiers are taken by injection and/or by IV and are expensive. Their long-term effects are unknown.
NOTE: Before taking biologics, it’s important to get appropriate vaccinations and to be tested for tuberculosis and hepatitis B and C.
Examples of biologic response modifiers:
|â¢ Redness at the injection site
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. However, it is believed to be caused by a combination the following factors:
- The environment
Normally, the immune system protects the body from disease. In people who have rheumatoid arthritis, somethingpossibly infections, cigarette smoking, and physical or emotional stress, among other causestriggers the immune system to attack the joints .
Gender, heredity, and genes largely determine a person’s risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. For example, women are about three times more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
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Connect With Others Who Understand
On myRAteam, the social network for people with rheumatoid arthritis and their loved ones, more than 150,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with RA.
Have you been given chemotherapy to treat your RA? Share your experience in the comments below, or by posting your story on myRAteam.
What Happens In Ra
With continuous swelling and inflammation of your joints, the joint capsule remains stretched and can no longer hold the joint in its proper position. As a result, the joint may become unstable and this can lead to joint damage. The joints affected and the extent to which this happens varies a great deal from person to person. RA usually affects the small joints in your hands and feet, but it can affect many joints including your ankles, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck and shoulders. The pain, stiffness, fatigue and whole-body symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be disabling and can lead to difficulty with daily activities. Effective treatment by a rheumatologist can prevent joint damage and reduce other symptoms of RA.
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What Are The Four Stages Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The American College of Rheumatology has developed a system for classifying rheumatoid arthritis that is primarily based upon the X-ray appearance of the joints. This system helps medical professionals classify the severity of your rheumatoid arthritis with respect to cartilage, ligaments, and bone. The system defines the four stages of RA as follows:
- No damage was seen on X-rays, although there may be signs of bone thinning
Foods to avoid with RA
There is no special RA diet or diet “cure” for rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is thought that a healthy diet is an important complement to medication in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Research is suggesting that the different kinds of bacteria in our intestines has a big impact on rheumatoid arthritis. Diet is likely important, but we do not know of specific foods or food groups that should be universally avoided by individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
Diets higher in fish, grains, and vegetables decrease the risk of developing RA. The Western diet, defined as including more processed meats, increases the risk. It is not certain whether this is because of a direct anti-inflammatory effect of the fish, grains, and vegetables or because of changes in the natural bacteria in the gut.
Foods that fight RA inflammation
Supplements for RA
Exercises and home remedies for RA