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To combat the issues behind the pain, a variety of drugs may be prescribed. The first category that your doctor may consider consists of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs. These can slow down the progress of psoriatic arthritis and save your joints from significant damage. Drugs in this category include sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) and methotrexate (Trexall). There are side effects that include bone marrow suppression, liver damage, and severe lung infections.
Since psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are autoimmune disorders, another category of drugs may be prescribed to suppress the immune system's means of attacking your body. These, however, can make you more susceptible to infections. These drugs include azathioprine (Imuran) and cyclosporine (Sandimmune).
There's also a newer class of drugs that targets specific parts of the immune system that are responsible for joint inflammation caused by the disease. These biologic agents are often prescribed alongside DMARDs, and they can cause side effects similar to other immunosuppressants. These drugs include adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), or tofacitinib (Xeljanz). Tofacitinib is also linked to increased blood clots in the lungs, so let your doctor decide the best medication for your needs.
Another way to minimize psoriatic arthritis damage is to live a healthy lifestyle. Eating right, exercising, and losing weight can keep your joints flexible and reduce the stress placed upon them. Keeping your body mass index below 25 can also increase the effectiveness of some psoriatic arthritis medications.
If these treatments aren't able to relieve your symptoms, then your doctor may consider steroid injections. They'll usually be injected into the affected joint and can reduce inflammation quickly, which will also reduce the pain.
If your joints have become too badly damaged by the disease, you may require joint replacement surgery. This procedure replaces the damaged joints with prostheses made from plastic or metal.
Ultimately, a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis doesn't mean that you have to live a reduced lifestyle. These treatments can help you get back to doing what you love without the worry of joint damage.
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