Treatments of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition of inflamed body joints. The
synovium lining becomes inflamed in response to the presence of white
blood cells. Cartilage, bone, tendons, and ligaments may be damaged in
response to this rheumatoid process. Eventual joint destruction can occur.
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include joint pain and
swelling, fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Smaller joints of the wrists, hands,
ankles and feet are likely to be affected first, followed by progression to
other joints such as the elbows, hips, and knees.
Although there is no cure available for rheumatoid arthritis, treatments
are available. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are available both over-the-counter
and in prescription strength for the relief of pain and inflammation. Disease-
modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are medications that work
to decrease inflammation, pain, and joint damage. Examples include
hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine). Tumor
necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha blockers such as infliximab (Remicade),
etanercept (Enbrel), and adalimumab (Humira) are medications that stop
the progression of arthritis by blocking a step in the inflammation process.