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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Medications (cont.)

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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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/27/2016


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