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Common Psoriatic Arthritis Treatments

By eHealthIQ
Reviewed: December 29, 2015

Psoriatic arthritis treatments usually depend on various factors like how severe the symptoms are, how they affect the daily life of a patient and joint damage. There are some patients who require medication to halt swelling and pain, others to stop or slow joint damage and others only when symptoms flare. In case these different medications do not work effectively, then surgery becomes the last option. Below are some of the common psoriatic arthritis treatment options.


This is commonly recommended by doctors to patients suffering from mild arthritis. The synonym NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is used to stop the patient’s body from manufacturing chemicals that are responsible for causing inflammation. The most common of these drugs are the ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin and they are sold over the counter or through prescription.

Although they are good for the joints, they can also affect some of your other body parts. This treatment drug has several side effects that include strokes, ulcers, stomachaches, heart attacks and bleeding especially if they are taken for a long time. It is for this reason that most doctors usually prescribe a certain drug known as misoprostol. This is usually to protect the stomach lining and another drug, omeprazole, is used to lower the acid in the body in order to prevent ulcers. For patients who have stomach problems, most doctors prescribe celecoxib or Celebrex.

Biologics and DMARDs

When the psoriatic arthritis’ condition is so severe that it does not respond positively to the use of NSAIDs, the doctor could prescribe the use of DMARD. This refers to a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). These drugs are capable of slowing down or stopping tissue and joint damage, swelling as well as pain. They are usually more stronger and therefore effective than NSAIDs but take a longer time to work. The most common of these are; leflunomide (Arava), Methotrexate, Cyclosporine and Sulfasalazine.

If all these do not work then the doctor can prescribe a biologic (new type of DMARD). Biologics usually work by blocking the protein that is the cause of inflammation. They include; infliximab, Etanercept, Certolizumab, Ustekinumab, Adalimumab and Golimumab. Biologics can be taken as a shot under the skin while for other patients they need to pay their doctor a visit to get the medicine through their veins using an IV and one would probably need to take methotrexate.

Although Biologics work well for many people they also have their downsides. They are far more expensive and come with various risks and side effects. Their use could make one feel dizzy, sickly or catch a cold. They also lower an individual’s immune system response.


Corticosteroids are useful in treating this condition as they are anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce severe swelling and pain. They are taken orally or by injecting them directly on a muscle or joint.

Enzyme Inhibitor

There is a new kind of drug on the block for inflammation diseases that are long term like psoriatic arthritis known as the Apremilast (Otezla). This pill works by inhibiting an enzyme known as the PDE-4 which helps in slowing down other body reactions that result in inflammation of joints and this improves joint flexibility.


It is not necessary but it is the last option if all the above medications don’t work. Synovectomy helps remove the joint lining that is diseased. Arthroplasty procedure replaces joints that are badly damaged by the disease.



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