What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? A Comprehensive Guide to Symptoms and Treatments

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Treatment Overview

Medications used to treat RA are divided into nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

In addition to medications, physical therapy and lifestyle modifications can also help to reduce the symptoms of RA. Physical therapy helps to maintain joint mobility, improve muscle strength, and reduce pain.

Exercise is also essential for maintaining joint and muscle health, and weight loss can help to reduce strain on the joints. Other lifestyle modifications include resting between activities, avoiding activities that increase joint pain, and wearing supportive shoes.

Surgery may be recommended in cases of severe joint damage. Surgery aims to remove damaged joints and replace them with artificial implants.

1) Biologic DMARDs

Biologic DMARDs are a relatively new treatment form designed to target specific parts of the immune system and reduce their activation. Nonbiologic DMARDs are older but still effective treatments usually prescribed before biologics.

Biologic DMARDs are made from various components, including proteins, antibodies, and small molecules. They work by targeting specific molecules that are involved in the inflammatory process. For example, monoclonal antibodies target Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), which helps to reduce inflammation and pain.

Biologic DMARDs are typically administered through injection or intravenous infusion, including infliximab, adalimumab, and tocilizumab. They are often used in combination with nonbiologic DMARDs such as methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, and leflunomide to maximize the effectiveness of treatment.

In addition, biological DMARDs can be used to slow the progression of joint damage and reduce the risk of disability. However, biological DMARDs can also have serious side effects, including an increased risk of infection and cancer.