Drug modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are among the most effective treatments for Rheumatoid arthritis. They help relieve pain and inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease. It causes your immune system to attack the healthy tissues in your joints, which can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Unlike osteoarthritis, which is caused by normal wear and tear as you age, RA can affect anyone at any age. No one knows what causes it.
RA has no cure at the moment, but medications can help relieve symptoms. These medications include:
- The immunesuppressants.
- anti-Inflammatory drugs.
- The drug is corticosteroids.
Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are one of the most effective treatments.
Rheumatologists often prescribe DMARDs right after diagnosing you with RA. Much of the permanent joint damage from RA happens in the first 2 years, according to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. DMARDs can make a big impact early on in the course of the disease.
The weakened immune system is what these medications work on. This action reduces the attack on your joints by RA.
The DMARD methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, RediTrex, Trexall) is the most commonly prescribed RA medication.
The FDA has approved other drugs to treat the disease.
- azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran)
- baricitinib (Olumiant), which is only available as a brand-name drug
- cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
- hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
- leflunomide (Arava)
- sulfasalazine (Azulfidine, Azulfidine EN-tabs)
- tofacitinib (Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR), which is only available as a brand-name drug
- upadacitinib (Rinvoq), which is only available as a brand-name drug
Biologics are anti-Inflammatory drugs. that are made from living organisms. Some newer biologics also function as DMARDs and have been approved by the FDA to treat RA.
Injections or injections are used to target specific immune system pathways.
There are biologics for RA.
- abatacept (Orencia)
- anakinra (Kineret)
- rituximab (Rituxan)
- tocilizumab (Actemra)
- All the drugs that are TNF-alpha.
They are only available as brand-name drugs.
TNF-alpha is a substance that occurs naturally in the body. When you have RA, the immune system cells that attack the joints create higher levels of TNF-alpha. These high levels cause pain and swelling.
The major factor in the damage to the joints is the presence of the TNF-alpha.
One of the most important types of DMARDs on the market right now is the one that blocks the production of the cytokine, called TNF-alpha.
The FDA approved six TNF-alpha inhibitors.
- adalimumab (Humira)
- certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
- etanercept (Enbrel)
- golimumab (Simponi), an injectable drug that’s given monthly
- Golimumab is given every 8 weeks.
- infliximab (Remicade)
“The activity of the immune system is blocked by the use of the TNF-alpha blockers. They lower your body’s levels of the anti-TNF-alpha.”
TNF-alpha inhibitors begin to work more quickly than other DMARDs. They may start to take effect after just 2 weeks.
The same results can be achieved with biosimilars, which are engineered to produce the exact same results.
There are drugs for RA.
- Adalimumab-adaz is a drug.
- Adalimumab-adbm is a drug.
- Adalimumab-afzb is a drug.
- Adalimumab-atto is a drug.
- Adalimumab-aqvh is a drug.
- Adalimumab-bwwd is a drug.
- Adalimumab-fkjp is a drug.
- etanercept-szzs is a drug.
- etanercept-ykro is a drug.
- Infliximab-abda is a drug.
- infliximab-axxq (Avsola)
- infliximab-dyyb (Inflectra)
- Infliximab-qbtx is also known as Ixifi.
- Truxima is a type of rituximab.
- Rituximab-arrx is a type of immune system therapy.
These are also called biologics or TNF-alpha inhibitors.
“Some of the biosimilars that have been approved by the FDA are not currently available for purchase. The brand-name biologics patents haven’t expired yet.”
The main downside to using them is that they are slow to act. It can take a long time to feel better from pain.
For this reason, rheumatologists often prescribe fast-acting pain relievers such as The drug is corticosteroids. or nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory drugs. (NSAIDs) at the same time. These drugs can help lower pain while you wait for the DMARD to take effect.
Examples of The drug is corticosteroids. or NSAIDs that may be used with DMARDs are listed below.
- methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol, Medrol, Solu-Medrol)
- Prednisone Intensol and Rayos are the brands of prednisone.
Over-the-counter drugs include:
Your immune system is suppressed by daemons. They put you at a higher risk for infections.
People with RA have the most common infections.
- There are skin infections.
- The respiratory infections.
- There are infections in the urinary tract.
People with RA respond well to drugs. Some people may not like these options.
If they don’t work for you, tell a rheumatologist. They’ll likely prescribe a different TNF-alpha inhibitor as a next step, or they may suggest a different kind of DMARD altogether.
Updating a rheumatologist on how you are feeling and how well you are taking your medication is important.
You can find a treatment plan for an RA with the help of a doctor or healthcare professional.
Can my diet affect my disease?
A Healthline reader
An anti-inflammatory diet that is high in antioxidants and rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help control inflammation as well as lower the risk of cardiovascular disease that can be associated with unmanaged RA.
The Mediterranean diet is a sustainable and healthy way to eat for people with RA and inflammatory diseases in general.
Foods that are high in antioxidants include fruits and vegetables. Foods rich in omega-3s include oily fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, and black cod, as well as tree nuts such as walnuts and almonds. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are also good ways to add omega-3s to your diet. Both seeds can be easily sprinkled onto your foods and are also good sources of protein and fiber.
Reducing simple sugars and foods made with white flour can also lower inflammation. Fat cells in the body carry inflammation.
Many medications are used to lower inflammation. Reducing excessive fat and working toward a lean body mass would be ideal.
Other diets that are being studied but aren’t conclusive are plant-based diets, vegan diets, and certain elimination diets.
Margaret R. Li, MD, FACRAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.