Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Medications (cont.)
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
In this Article
- Rheumatoid arthritis overview
- Rheumatoid arthritis medications list
- What are the new classes of rheumatoid arthritis medications?
- What are effective over-the-counter medications for rheumatoid arthritis?
- What are effective natural medications for rheumatoid arthritis?
- What are the potential risks and benefits of injectable medications for rheumatoid arthritis?
- What are the best rheumatoid arthritis medications for pain?
- What are the side effects of rheumatoid arthritis medications?
- Rheumatoid arthritis medications special considerations: weight gain and pregnancy
- What are rheumatoid arthritis medications in development?
- What are the treatment options if rheumatoid arthritis medications are not working?
What are effective natural medications for rheumatoid arthritis?
A few natural remedies may help patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3-fatty acids, found in fish oil capsules, may reduce inflammation. The same would be true for gamma linoleic acid. Herbal preparations with possible benefit include ginger, Devil's claw, and white willow.
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 they generally provide quick relief. The biggest drawback of biologic 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.
What are the best rheumatoid arthritis medications for pain?
Most of the medications used for rheumatoid arthritis provide relief from pain. However, depending on current disease activity, some may be more effective than others. For acute flare-ups, for example, short-term treatment with a corticosteroid, such as prednisone, may be highly beneficial. If there is excessive inflammation, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory can address that symptoms and also relieve pain. Over-the-counter analgesics, such as acetaminophen, may be used for minor pain. But for chronic, moderate-to-severe pain, an opioid analgesic would be more effective. Pain and inflammation are both addressed by biological drugs which have the added benefit of altering disease activity.
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