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Anti-Rheumatic Drugs

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Medicines used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a crippling form of Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that produces chronic inflammation of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause inflammation of the tissue around the joints, and in other organs in the body. Symptoms include stiff, swollen joints, fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

Treating Rhematoid Athristis with Antirhematic drugs

In the earlystages of treatment, the drugs prescribed for Rheumatoid Arthritis are often the same as those used to treat the more common form of Arthritis, Osteoarthritis. These include Aspirin, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), and, sometimes, Steroids. The stronger drugs may slow the progress of the disease, as well as reduce pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

In recent years, doctors have started using Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)/ These drugs are used early in the history of the disease and are less inclined to wait for crippling stages. Anti-Rheumatic Drugs include Hydroxychloroquine, which is also used to treat Malaria; Penicillamine; Azathioprine; and Methotrexate, which is also used to treat some types of Cancer.

Major Classes of Antirhematic Drugs
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):They bring symptomatic relief of both inflammation and pain.
  • Corticosteroids: These drugs are very effective antiinflammatory agents. They are used to reduce inflammation and suppress activity of the immune system.
  • Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): They prevent the disease process itself and do not only treat symptoms.
  • Slow-Acting Antirheumatic Drugs (SAARDs): They belong to a special class of DMARDs.
  • Immunosuppresive cytotoxic drugs: This class of drugs is used if treatment with NSAIDs and SAARDs have no effect. They have a stabilizing effect on the immune system.
Common DMARDs
  • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
  • Azathioprine (Imuran)
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • Cyclosporine
  • Azathioprine
  • Penicillamine
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Organic gold compounds
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