Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication
Drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis include four different classes of medications: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biological response modifiers. Among the things that a healthcare provider should take into account when prescribing a medication for rheumatoid arthritis are the person's general condition, the length of time he or she will take the medicine, and the medicine's effectiveness and potential side effects.
Most people who have rheumatoid arthritis take medications. Some of these medications are used only for pain relief; others are used to reduce inflammation. Still others are used to try to slow the course of the disease. Some important considerations to take into account when rheumatoid arthritis medication is prescribed include the person's general condition, the current and predicted severity of the illness, the length of time he or she will take the medicine, and the medicine's effectiveness and potential side effects.
Medications for rheumatoid arthritis fall into different classes:
- Analgesics (pain relievers), including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Biological response modifiers.
Analgesics relieve pain; NSAIDs relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Some common pain relievers and NSAIDs include:
- Aspirin (buffered, plain)
- Traditional NSAIDs:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®)
- Naproxen (Naprosyn®) or naproxen sodium (Aleve®, Anaprox®, Naprelan®)
- Etodolac (Lodine®, Lodine® XL)
- Meloxicam (Mobic®)
- Indomethacin (Indocin®)
- Nabumetone (Relafen®)
- Many others.
- COX-2 inhibitor NSAIDs including celecoxib (Celebrex®).