Sunday, October 14, 2012

Arthritis treatment

Arthritis treatment, An effective arthritis treatment regimen can help manage the disease. There are many treatment options which you should know about. Over time, you may try several different treatments and medications. Finding the best treatment for you can be a long process. Learn about your options.

There are several classes of arthritis medications that work to control arthritis symptoms, prevent joint damage, and improve mobility and function. Basically, there are 5 categories of arthritis medications: NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), analgesics (painkillers), corticosteroids, DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs), and the newer biologics. Learn about the drugs in each category. Know your options.

NSAIDs have been used to treat arthritis for more than thirty years. NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory, analgesic (painkilling), and anti-pyretic (fever-reducing) properties. The drugs can cause potentially serious side effects. Patients must weigh benefits and risks of taking NSAIDs.

Analgesics are a class of drugs used to relieve pain. The pain relief induced by analgesics occurs either by blocking pain signals going to the brain or by interfering with the brain's interpretation of the signals, without producing anesthesia or loss of consciousness. There are basically two kinds of analgesics: non-narcotics and narcotics.

Corticosteroids are drugs closely related to cortisol, a hormone which is naturally produced in the adrenal cortex (the outer layer of the adrenal gland). In 1948, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a group of arthritis patients were given daily injections of a corticosteroid. The results were so striking and the improvement so dramatic that it was thought that the "cure" for arthritis had been discovered. However, as the use of corticosteroids expanded over the years, significant side effects emerged. They are still used (orally and by injection) to knock down inflammation.

DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) appear to decrease inflammation, though they are not categorized as anti-inflammatory drugs. They are unlike NSAIDs in that they do not decrease prostaglandin production, do not directly relieve pain, nor reduce fever. In effect, DMARDs slow the disease process by modifying the immune system.

Biologic response modifiers (biologics) stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight disease and/or infection. For example, TNF-alpha is one of the most important cytokines involved in rheumatoid arthritis through its entanglement in the cascade of inflammatory reactions. Anti-TNF drugs bind to TNF-alpha, rendering it inactive and interfering with inflammatory activity -- ultimately decreasing joint damage. Anti-TNF drugs are just one type of biologic drug developed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Title: Arthritis treatment
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