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Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that patients with psoriasis may experience. Approximately one out of every 20 psoriasis patients experience psoriatic arthritis. The exact cause is unknown, and as of today, there is no cure for this condition. Since this condition cannot be cured, treatment is focused on controlling inflammation to help in preventing disability and pain. It is important to take the time to learn more about psoriatic arthritis drugs to ensure the best treatment.
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Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
This type of drug may be effective in alleviating swelling and pain, and helping to relieve morning stiffness. This type of drug is typically the first type of treatment used. There are also prescription NSAIDs that may be prescribed to patients when over-the-counter ones prove to be ineffective.
Not all patients will be able to take this type of drug. There are possible drug interactions for patients taking other medications and there are certain medical conditions that may be worsened with this type of drug. NSAIDs may irritate the patient's intestines and stomach. When used long-term, there is the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Other possible side effects include fluid retention, high blood pressure, kidney damage, and heart failure. In some cases, this type of drug may make the skin issues associated with psoriasis worse.
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Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs
This type of drug may be effective in reducing inflammation in pain. In addition, it may also help in limiting how much joint damage a patient with this condition experiences. This type of drug tends to act slowly, however, and many patients do not start noticing results for at least a few weeks. In some cases, it can take months for relief to become apparent. The most common DMARD-type of psoriatic arthritis drug that is prescribed is known as methotrexate.
This drug is not right for all patients. Certain medical conditions and medications will prevent patients from being able to take this drug. There is also the chance that serious side effects may occur. These may include problems with the kidneys, lungs, and liver.
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This type of medication may be prescribed to help in suppressing the patient's immune system. The immune system, under normal circumstances, works to protect our body from organisms that are harmful, but with this condition, our immune system attacks itself. Immunosuppressant medications work to stop the body from attacking itself. Azathioprine, leflunomide and cyclosporine are commonly prescribed.
Due to certain medical conditions and taking certain medications, certain patients may not be able to take this type of drug. There is also the potential for serious side effects. Because of the risk for such side effects, this type of drug is usually only prescribed to patients experiencing severe psoriatic arthritis. This type of drug suppresses the immune system, therefore, the chance of experiencing a serious infection is increased. Kidney and liver problems are also possible.
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This type of medication, also known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors, may be prescribed to patients with a severe form of psoriatic arthritis. This type of drug helps to reduce inflammation by blocking the protein that causes it. It may help in improving the signs and symptoms a patient experiences. Commonly prescribed TNF-alpha inhibitors include adalimumab, golimumab, etanercept and infliximab.
Certain drugs and medical conditions may prevent a patient from being able to take this type of drug. Serious side effects are also possible, some of which, can be life-threatening.
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PubMed Health. (2010). Psoriatic Arthritis. Retrieved on February 16, 2011 from PubMed Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001450
Mayo Clinic. (2010). Psoriatic Arthritis. Retrieved on February 16, 2011 from the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/psoriatic-arthritis/DS00476