What Treatments are Available? | Psoriatic Arthritis What Treatments are Available? | Psoriatic Arthritis
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What Treatments Are Available?

Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis vary. As every person with Psoriatic Arthritis experiences symptoms differently, the treatment prescribed will also vary. No matter what treatment is prescribed, the overall goal is the same: to reduce joint pain and inflammation as well as to prevent long-term damage to joints. Below are a few types of treatments that are commonly used to treat Psoriatic Arthritis or its symptoms.

Note that this is not a complete list of medications. If you have questions about any of the medications listed below, contact your healthcare professional.

Treatment Type
What is it?
What it can do
Information on Side Effects
Treatment Type

NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

Examples:

  • diclofenac (Voltaren®)
  • ibuprofen (Motrin®)
  • naproxen (Naprosyn®)
  • Et cetera
What is it?
NSAIDs are a type of pain reliever – in fact, you have probably used over-the-counter versions from your local pharmacy to treat headaches, back aches and even fever. They are usually taken orally (by mouth). While they are not specifically labelled to treat psoriatic arthritis, they are often recommended by healthcare professionals to relieve joint pain and/or inflammation.
What it can do
  • Reduces inflammation which can help relieve joint pain and swelling.
Information on Side Effects
Like all medicines, NSAIDs can have side effects although not everyone gets them. Some of the side effects associated with NSAIDs can include:
  • Drowsiness, tiredness,
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight
  • Stomach problems like stomach upset, stomach bleeding and ulcers
  • Heart, kidney and liver problems
Treatment Type

Corticosteroids

Examples:

  • hydrocortisone (Cortef®)
  • prednisone
  • methylprednisolone (Medrol)
  • Et cetera
What is it?
Corticosteroids are drugs that doctors sometimes prescribe to help reduce inflammation. They can be taken by mouth, or injected into a joint.
What it can do
  • Reduces the body’s immune response to certain diseases and reduces inflammation.
Information on Side Effects
Like all medicines, Corticosteroids can have side effects although not everybody gets them. Some of the side effects associated with corticosteroids include:
  • Fluid retention
  • High blood pressure
  • Thinning of skin
  • Bone thinning
  • Gastrointestinal effects, including stomach ulcer, stomach bleeding and inflammation of the pancreas or esophagus
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Increased risk of infection
Treatment Type

DMARDs (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs)

Examples:

  • methotrexate
  • Et cetera
What is it?
DMARDs can be prescribed to help suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation (swelling in the joints). DMARDs can help control disease but not cure it. DMARDs can be taken by mouth or by an injection.
What it can do
  • Helps reduce the inflammation that causes joint swelling.
  • Used to control disease but not cure it.
Information on Side Effects
Like all medicines, DMARDs can have side effects although not everybody gets them. Some of the side effects associated with DMARDs can include:
  • Diarrhea, dizziness, loss of appetite; nausea or vomiting; headache, itching, rash or upset stomach
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Sores on lips
  • Fatigue
Treatment Type

Biologics

Examples:

  • adalimumab (Humira®)
  • etanercept (Enbrel®)
  • golimumab (Simponi®)
  • Et cetera
What is it?
Biologics are a group of medications that block the effect of a chemical called "tumor necrosis factor alpha", or TNFα. Too much TNFα in the body can lead to inflammation of the joints. By binding to TNFα, biologics decrease the inflammation process of these diseases. Many biologics are taken by injection.
What it can do
  • Reduce signs and symptoms of PsA, such as pain, morning stiffness and fatigue.
  • Slow down the progression of joint damage.
  • May help prevent further damage to bones and joints.
  • May help improve physical functioning and ability to perform daily activities, such as dressing, walking and climbing stairs.
Information on Side Effects
Like all medicines, biologics can have side effects although not everybody gets them. Some of the side effects associated with biologics can include:
  • Serious infections, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis
  • Possible skin reaction at the site of injection
  • Certain forms of cancer: lymphoma, non-melanoma skin cancer
The information provided here is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s advice. All medications can cause side effects, some of which are serious. Note that the above tables do not contain a complete list of side effects. For more information about individual drugs, please refer to the product monograph.

There are many treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis that work in different ways. For people diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis, finding the right treatment is possible – with help from your family doctor or rheumatologist.

For now… if you are feeling joint pain or stiffness, talk to your pharmacist about non-prescription products that can help you manage your symptoms until you see your family doctor.

You may also want to look through the resources section, for links to credible websites and associations that can offer additional, helpful tips and support.