Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder of the immune system that affects multiple joints in the body. It typically causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. It can also affect other parts of the body, including the eyes, skin, and heart. Treatment for RA will depend on the specific cause of the condition.
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are commonly prescribed to manage the pain and inflammation associated with RA. They work by blocking the enzymes that cause inflammation in the body. NSAIDs are available as over-the-counter (OTC) products or by prescription. But they carry risks, including increased risk of heart attacks. In addition, they cannot be used for long periods of time.
The effectiveness of DMARDs may be limited, especially in a small group of patients with RA. Patients who are not responding to DMARDs should not stop treatment. This may lead to relapse of symptoms and lead to serious side effects. Biologics may be used in combination with DMARDs for people who have not responded to other treatments. Biologics are usually given by intravenous infusion or needle injection under the skin.
RA treatments are changing as new drugs become available. The availability of newer drugs has resulted in a change in the criteria for patients in clinical trials. The results of these trials are not consistent across patients, and further research is needed to identify the factors that influence treatment response.