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Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Strategies

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Psoriatic Arthritis is the characteristic inflammatory arthritisaffecting the spine and other joints. The main aim of psoriatic treatment is to control the swelling, reduce joint damage and increase the functioning of the joint. The symptoms of the joint as well as the skin are treated simultaneously.

The treatment of psoriatic arthritis is involved with the use of anti-inflammatory medications like NSAIDs and exercise. It is found in the research that nearly six to 42 percent of people suffering from psoriasis with itchy and scaly rashes also possess the joint disease known as psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is the autoimmune disease where the defense mechanisms naturally present in the body towards the infection will attack the same tissue leading to damage, swelling and pain.

The psoriatic arthritis patient will have to take the advice of the physiotherapist, the podiatrist and occupational therapist. These people will take care of the exercises to be done, joint protection and type of footwear to be used. The drugs that are prescribed for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis are discussed hereunder.

Treatment Options for Psoriatic Arthritis

Drugs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

The inflammation that is seen in the joint linings are removed with the help of these drugs. The stiffness and pain in the joints are also relieved with the help of these drugs. The symptoms will improve in just a few hours after the intake of these drugs, while the effect will remain for only a few hours. Hence, it is essential to take the tablets often.

Some of the NSAIDs that are used for this purpose are diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, and indometacin. The usage of NSAIDs can result in digestion problems such as stomach upset and indigestion. These drugs might also lead to heart attack or heart strokes. The physician has to enquire about the other habits and medications used by the patient and then prescribe the suitable NSAID to avoid the complications.

Disease Modifying Anti-rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)

The reasons for the initiation of inflammation is handled by the disease modifying drugs. The extent of damage to the joint in psoriatic arthritis is reduced by these drugs. DMARDs are the class of drugs that function slowly and shows their effect after a few weeks period. Methotrexate is one of the DMARD drugsthat is involved in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis.

Source: http://www.parkwayphysiotherapy.ca/Injuries-Conditions/Arthritis/Medications-for-Arthritis/a~4158/article.html

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It is found that these drugs have severe side effects which include the problems related to kidney, liver and lung. Problems like bone marrow suppression and damage to the liver might result from long term use of methotrexate. The blood counts have to be regularly monitored and the blood tests of the liver have to be done along with the usage of methotrexate. Sulfasalazine is one of these drugs that is shown to have benefit in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis.

Immunosuppressant Drugs

The medications that belong to this category are found to be involved in suppressing the immune system. So, these drugs will protect the body from the harmful organisms. The immunosuppressant drugs are found to be affecting the healthy tissue of the people suffering from psoriatic arthritis. The immune suppressants that are commonly used are cyclosporine, azathioprine and leflunomide. These drugs suppress the immune system which can in turn lead to anemia as well as higher risk of infection.

TNF-Alpha Inhibitors

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockers are the drugs that are suggested for the severe psoriatic arthritis condition. These drugs will inhibit the protein that is responsible for the inflammation in some of the types of arthritis. These drugs are also involved in improving the signs and symptoms of psoriasis. Some of the drugs that belong to this category are etanercept, golimumab, adalimumab and infliximab. There are some serious and life-threatening side effects that are associated with these drugs. So, it is better to discuss the usage of these drugs with the doctor.

Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine or plaquenil is the antimalarial medication that is used for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis that is persistent. The possible damage to the Retina is one of the side effects of this drug. It is necessary to get monitored by the ophthalmologist while using this drug.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory agents that are potentially administered either orally or in the form of injection to the joint regions in order to decrease the inflammation. Prednisone is given orally and cortisone is given as injection. If they are used for long duration they might result in side effects such as easy bruising, skin thinning, osteoporosis, diabetes, infections, and bone necrosis in the knee and hip regions.

Topical Treatments

The skin is applied with some topical agents like gels, creams, lotions, ointments, sprays and shampoos to treat the itchy and scaly rashes of psoriasis. The FDA has approved certain topical agents for the psoriasis treatment. They are salicylic acid and coal tar.

Salicylic acid

Aids in peeling the scales.

Coal Tar

The growth of scales is reduced and the itching and inflammation sensation is also reduced.

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