Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment options
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While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there are treatments that can help relieve the joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Some of the treatment options your doctor may consider are described here. It’s important to talk to your rheumatologist to determine which treatment option is right for you.
Often prescribed by doctors when RA first starts, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling. However, they don’t stop further joint damage. Many NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (such as Motrin®* and Advil®*) and naproxen (such as Aleve®*), are available at drug stores without a prescription. Other medications may require a prescription. Over time, many people find that NSAIDs may not be enough to provide the symptom relief they require.
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Your doctor may have prescribed a medicine called a DMARD (disease-modifying antirheumatic drug) to help treat your RA. Methotrexate is a commonly prescribed DMARD for the treatment of RA. While many people are helped by methotrexate, for others, it isn’t enough. Your doctor may combine methotrexate with other medications to help relieve your symptoms and help treat your RA.
Some biologic medications help treat moderate to severe RA by reducing the pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by the disease. A biologic may be appropriate for you if your symptoms are getting worse while taking a DMARD, such as methotrexate.
Anti-TNFs (tumor necrosis factor) are a type of biologic that works by blocking the action of TNF-alpha, a protein made by your body’s immune system. In certain autoimmune diseases, such as RA, there is too much TNF-alpha. Too much TNF-alpha can cause the immune system to attack parts of the body. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Over time, RA can damage joints.
It's important to know that blocking too much TNF-alpha can lessen your body's ability to fight infections.
When taken with methotrexate, SIMPONI ARIA®, an anti-TNF biologic, can:
- Be helpful in the treatment of symptoms of moderate to severe RA
- Help stop further joint damage