Which Medicine For Psoriatic Arthritis Should I Take?

Monali Sharma
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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Which medicine for psoriatic arthritis works best

Individuals living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) may find managing their condition to be a continuous battle. This chronic ailment not only causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling but also disrupts daily life with unpredictable flare-ups. Nevertheless, the presence of available medications offers hope for individuals seeking relief from their symptoms and a return to their usual state of well-being. 

This article enlists and explains how to better manage your symptoms with a suitable medicine for Psoriatic Arthritis. Whether you are grappling with painful joints or the skin complications associated with Psoriasis, gaining knowledge about the variety of remedies available can enable you to regain control over your life. 

Overview of Psoriatic Arthritis medications

Although incurable, appropriate medications can alleviate Psoriatic Arthritis symptoms and enhance life quality. The primary drug categories include:

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
  • Biologics
  • Oral Small Molecules
  • Corticosteroids

Here’s a medication comparison table that includes most types of medicines for Psoriatic Arthritis.

Medication typeBenefitsPotential side effects
NSAIDsReduce pain and inflammationStomach ulcers, kidney issues
DMARDsSlow disease progressionLiver damage, bone marrow issues
BiologicsTargeted immune actionInfection risk, Cancer risk
Oral Small MoleculesConvenient, target specific enzymesDiarrhea, nausea
CorticosteroidsQuick relief, effective for flare-upsWeight gain, Osteoporosis

Types of medicines for Psoriatic Arthritis

Below, we discuss the different types of medications used to treat Psoriatic Arthritis. Each category includes several medications, each with its benefits and potential side effects.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs serve as a primary treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis. These medications, including both over-the-counter and prescription, are generally well-tolerated. However, caution is advised regarding long-term use due to the risk of side effects.

Common NSAIDs include:

Benefits and side effects

NSAIDs have benefits, including reducing pain and inflammation, being accessible as over-the-counter options, and being efficacious in managing mild cases.

Some of the potential side effects of these medications are Diarrhea, dizziness, and gas.

Also Read: Read  Naproxen for Pain: When and How to Use It to know how NSAIDs help with pain. 

Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)

DMARDs are crucial in managing Psoriatic Arthritis. These medications operate by dampening the immune system’s activity and reducing inflammation. 

DMARDs primarily include:

  • Methotrexate
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Leflunomide

They are often administered orally or via injections. The onset of their therapeutic effects may span several weeks to months, necessitating ongoing blood tests to observe for potential adverse reactions.

Benefits and side effects

The principal advantages of DMARDs encompass slowing down disease advancement, diminishing joint damage, and being suitable for moderate to severe Psoriatic Arthritis.

However, their use may be associated with certain risks, including liver impairment, bone marrow suppression, and heightened susceptibility to infections.

Unlike NSAIDs, DMARDs take longer to show effects and require consistent use. Here’s a table summarizing the key differences between NSAIDs and DMARDs:

FeatureNSAIDsDMARDs
AvailabilityOver-the-counter or prescriptionPrescription-only
Mechanism of actionReduces inflammationSuppresses the immune system
Pain reliefFast-actingSlower onset but longer-lasting effects
Impact on joint damageNoneMay slow down joint damage

Biologics

Biologic DMARDs are revolutionary medicines offering hope for those whose conditions have not improved with traditional DMARDs or who have experienced severe side effects. These biologics, often administered via injections or infusions, are critical in managing Psoriatic Arthritis. However, being mindful of their higher side effect risks is important.

Key examples of Biologic DMARDs include:

  • Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) inhibitors: Adalimumab, Etanercept, Infliximab
  • Interleukin (IL) inhibitors: Ustekinumab, Secukinumab, Ixekizumab
  • Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors: Tofacitinib, Baricitinib

Benefits and side effects

The benefits of opting for Biologic DMARDs are their targeted action on the immune system, effectiveness at reducing inflammation and slowing disease progression, and their being particularly beneficial for severe cases.

The potential side effects to consider before using these medications are nausea, increased risk of infections, and Injection site reactions.

Corticosteroids

A woman getting vacinated
A woman getting an injection

Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that reduce joint swelling and pain, especially during flare-ups. They can be administered orally or directly into the afflicted joints. 

Common examples include:

  • Prednisone
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Triamcinolone

Benefits and side effects

Corticosteroids are beneficial because they quickly reduce inflammation and pain, are effective for flare-ups, and can be injected directly into joints. 

While they offer rapid relief, long-term use can lead to significant side effects. The potential side effects of steroids are weight gain, Osteoporosis, and increased risk of infections.

Fact
Probiotics have been found to be beneficial in reducing disease activity in patients with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA).

Topical treatments

Topical therapies can help control Psoriatic Arthritis symptoms in addition to oral medication. Examples include:

  • Topical NSAIDs: Diclofenac
  • Topical Corticosteroids: Hydrocortisone, Triamcinolone

Topical treatments are applied directly to the impacted area and can help that area without affecting the rest of the body.

Benefits and side effects

These treatments offer several benefits, such as targeted relief and reduced systemic side effects. However, common side effects of topical corticosteroids include skin thinning and telangiectasia, while topical NSAIDs may cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

Oral Small Molecules or JAK inhibitors

Oral small molecules, or Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors, are a newer class of drugs for Psoriatic Arthritis. They target specific enzymes involved in the immune response.

Common options:

  • Apremilast
  • Tofacitinib

Benefits and side effects

The benefits of JAK inhibitors are that they are effective for moderate to severe cases, can be administered easily via oral route, and target specific enzymes.

The potential side effects of these medications are Diarrhea, nausea, increased risk of infections, and blood clots.

Choosing the right medication

Choosing the right medication for your condition is a collaborative effort with your healthcare provider. Some things must be considered to ensure that the treatment fits your needs and health profile. 

Factors to consider:

  • Severity of symptoms: More intense symptoms might require stronger medications, such as biologics
  • Response to previous treatments: Your medication history and previous treatment outcomes may help determine your next treatment plan
  • Potential side effects: Understanding your tolerance for possible side effects is key
  • Overall health and other medical conditions: Your general health and existing conditions influence medication choice

Sometimes, a combination of medications may be more effective than a single drug. Your healthcare provider may recommend using two or more medications to manage your symptoms and prevent joint damage.

Finding the right medication often involves trial and error, guided by your doctor’s expertise. Reading Arthritis Pain Relief may help to know more about medications and other options like therapies to help with your pain. It is essential to communicate any concerns regarding side effects or treatment alternatives to your healthcare provider.

Warning
Do not delay taking Psoriatic Arthritis medicines if prescribed. Several studies have shown that joint damage in PsA patients occurs within just a few years of disease onset.

Conclusion

Managing Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) effectively involves a comprehensive approach with various medications like NSAIDs, DMARDs, Biologics, Oral Small Molecules, and Corticosteroids. 

NSAIDs offer quick pain and inflammation relief but pose risks like stomach ulcers and kidney issues. DMARDs slow disease progression and prevent joint damage, albeit with potential side effects like liver damage and infection risks. Biologics target specific immune system components, offering hope for refractory cases but carrying risks of serious infections and Cancer. 

Oral Small Molecules provide convenience and targeted action with fewer side effects like nausea. Corticosteroids give rapid flare-up relief but can lead to long-term issues such as Osteoporosis. Each medication type has its benefits and potential side effects, necessitating a personalized treatment plan developed in consultation with healthcare professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for Psoriatic Arthritis medication to work?

Psoriatic Arthritis medications can take weeks to months to show significant results. DMARDs typically take 3-6 months to start working, while biologics may take 2-4 months. Corticosteroids provide quick relief but may not address underlying inflammation.

What if one Psoriatic Arthritis medication doesn’t work for me?

If one medication doesn’t work for you, it’s essential to communicate with your healthcare provider. They may adjust the dosage, switch to a different medication, or explore combination therapy to find a more effective treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis.

Are there any natural ways to treat Psoriatic Arthritis?

Yes, there are natural remedies for Psoriatic Arthritis. These include cold or hot therapy, massage, exercise, turmeric, capsaicin, and Epsom salts. These are complementary therapies, not replacements for prescription medications, even if they can help control symptoms.

Can I stop taking my Psoriatic Arthritis medications if I’m feeling better?

No, continuing your Psoriatic Arthritis medications as prescribed is crucial, even if symptoms improve. Stopping suddenly can lead to a flare-up of the condition. Discuss any medication changes with your doctor.

Citations:
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