Once a doctor confirms the presence of arthritis, a treatment plan can be formed. The underlying causes of arthritis usually cannot be cured, but treatment aims to reduce the pain of swollen joints, improve movement and function, and to prevent any further damage to the joints.
Medical treatment is usually recommended for those suffering from arthritis.
Generally, a doctor will begin by recommending over-the-counter medications like:
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Take two arthritis-strength Tylenol every eight hours. Taking Tylenol more often than advised or with alcohol can result in liver damage.
• Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or Naproxen: These non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can reduce arthritis pain, but patients should be aware of potential side-effects including heart attack, stomach ulcers, stroke, bleeding from the digestive tract, and kidney damage.
Prescription medicines used to treat arthritis include:
• Biologics, which are used to treat autoimmune arthritis. These include etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), abatacept (Orencia), rituximab (Rituxan), golimumab (Simponi), certolizumab (Cimzia), and tocilizumab (Actemra).
• Corticosteroids help to reduce inflammation. They can be injected directly into joints or taken orally.
• Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, or DMARDs, are used for autoimmune arthritis and include methotrexate, gold salts, penicillamine, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine.
• Immunosuppressants like azathioprine and cyclophosphamide can help patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
These medications should only be taken under the close supervision of a doctor.
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