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RA Treatment

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www.ProHealth.com • September 25, 2000


Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments

Medications are usually aimed at alleviating the symptoms. Aspirin is usually the first drug to try, since it is inexpensive and effective.

A class of drugs called NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are the next course of action. However, response to NSAIDs can vary, so experimentation is usually called for. In the long term they are known to cause side effects, particularly stomach upset and gastrointestinal bleeding. Fortunately, a new class of drug is now on the market, COX-2 inhibitors, which help pain reduction without the side effects of NSAIDS. The newer drugs are more expensive, but their dosage is lower than other medications.

More powerful anti-rheumatic drugs are used when the anti-inflammatory drugs fail to provide adequate help. Antimalarial compounds containing hydroxychloroquine sulfate have produced a good response in. Others, such as the corticosteroid prednisone can result in rapid symptomatic improvement until treatment is discontinued. Finding the right balance between dosage and relief is important when using steriods, as long term use carries many side effects.

Other treatment options

Exercise, periods of rest and physical therapy all contribute to coping with rheumatoid arthritis. Exercise is beneficial for keeping joints mobile, strengthening muscles around joints, and maintaining overall health and wellbeing. Although sufferers may not feel like exercising, just a few simple movements a day can make a difference in the severity of symptoms as well as improve mood and self-esteem.

Rest is vital to the recovery of inflammed joints to prevent further damage.

Devices

Splints are easily available in the local pharmacy and provide joint support and protection during flare-ups. They are most effective for hands and wrists and can be tailored to the individual. Other readily available devices help sufferers perform everyday chores, such as can openers, jar openers, door handles, and faucet turners.



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