Psoriatic arthritis: background treatments
There are background treatments available for psoriatic arthritis. They effectively combat the progression of the illness. New medications to treat psoriatic arthritis are able to improve the quality of life of affected patients significantly.
Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are the medication of reference for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. These powerful medications, such as Methotrexate®, act on the joint inflammation in the legs affected by inflammatory psoriatic arthritis. They also help with the skin conditions, but the DMARDs do not have proven efficacy on spinal inflammation in psoriatic arthritis.
Anti-TNFa biotherapies are a more recent development. They have been shown to have an incredible effect on inflammation in psoriatic arthritis. Some examples of anti-TNFa medications are: infliximab (Remicade®), etanercept (Enbrel®), adalimumab (Humira®). However, these medications come with side effects: they increase the risk of severe infections in treated patients.
Psoriatic arthritis: symptomatic treatments
Symptomatic treatments reduce the pain experienced by patients during an attack of psoriatic arthritis. These medications improve patient comfort, but do not fight the disease in itself.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Naproxen, diclofenac, ketoprofen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in general are highly effective treatments to alleviate patient symptoms during psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. Anti-inflammatories are a long-term treatment option when attacks of psoriatic arthritis occur.
During the initial attacks of psoriatic arthritis, patients tend to treat their pain with simple painkillers (paracetamol, codeine, ibuprofen etc.). They quickly realize that they are useless for treating their pain. These drug treatments are not effective for alleviating the pain caused by inflammatory psoriatic arthritis.