Dr. Eric Ruderman shares the rheumatoid arthritis treatments that are available.
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So there are actually several different types of treatments available or rheumatoid arthritis. First, we do have medications that reduce symptoms, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like Naproxen, like Ibuprofen can be very helpful for some of the minor symptoms, corticosteroids, Prednisone, very helpful for pain and inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis. We think of those symptomatic therapists. They don’t really treat the underline disease process. To treat the disease, we really feel these days that every patient with rheumatoid arthritis should be taking what we called a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug or Dmards. Those are the drugs that we actually think can control the disease process and not only reduce symptoms but stop the damage that occurs to the diseases left unchecked. Classically, the most commonly use disease modifying drug we have is drug called Methotrexate which was originally used as a chemotherapy agent in high doses. In very low doses in rheumatoid arthritis, it can do a great job in controlling the disease and it really is sort of our anchor for therapy. More recently, we’d been using a lot of drugs known as biologic response modifiers or biologic disease modifiers and these are drugs like a Etanercept or Adalimumab or Infliximab that are targeted it specific places within the immune systems. Once you understand the biology of rheumatoid arthritis and understand sort of what the processes that goes on in immune system that drives the ongoing inflammation, these are agents that can actually target specific places in that process and shut it off.