Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments
There are many different treatments for RA. Some of the more common ones include NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs), steroids, and biologics. Today, I’m focusing on NSAIDs
Anti-inflammatory drugs include (generic names used):
- Naproxen Sodium
NSAIDs work to decrease inflammation. They can work quite well in RA and other inflammatory diseases, however, they should be used in the lowest dose possible to help decrease the risk of side effects.
Side effects of NSAIDs can include:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Increased bleeding tendency
- Liver and/or kidney problems
- High blood pressure
If you are taking NSAIDs for RA, your doctor will want to periodically assess your liver and kidney function. This is done through blood tests and if your liver enzymes or kidney function is not within range, your physician may ask you to stop the medications.
You should report ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding to your physician right away. Symptoms of ulcer may include stomach pain and nausea. Gastrointestinal bleeding may present with coffee ground emesis, black or tarry stools, pale skin, severe fatigue.
Please consult your physician for any concerns or before initiating NSAID therapy.
Harrison’s Rheumatology: Editor Anthony S. Fauci