Each year, millions of senior adults are diagnosed with the painful arthritic condition known as rheumatoid arthritis. With pain significant and debilitating, finding the appropriate treatment options of rheumatoid arthritis is the key to improving overall health outcomes and providing, to some extent, a program by which senior adults can continue to live independently.
As part of the treatment plan for rheumatoid arthritis, many sufferers turn to not only the powerful use of NSAIDs but also the use of drugs known as “disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs”, DMARDs. While the DMARDs are not drugs that can alter the disease progression of rheumatoid arthritis, they are effective as an additional line of therapy, second to NSAIDs.
So, what are DMARDs? As a slow acting therapeutic agent, these “disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs” work to provide a supplemental approach to treatment in rheumatory arthritis patients who do not respond well to the sole use of NSAIDs in controlling rheumatic arthritis pain.
When suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, the primary concern for both you and your doctor should be the focus of preventing bone and joint damage. While rheumatoid arthritis is quite painful, it is the long term damage and erosion of the bones and joints which will lead to greater complications. For this reason, patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis should be certain their physician is supplying not only the necessary prescription NSAIDs but also the necessary DMARDs well into the first three months of therapy.
It is important to remember, as a rheumatoid arthritis patient, that DMARDs are slow acting meaning the effects of this classification of drugs may not be realized for several weeks or months. Still, because DMARDs work to prevent joint deterioration and bone erosion, they must continue to be utilized in the overall approach to healthcare and in the improvement of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Additionally, it is also important to remember that the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, using DMARDs, may involve the combination approach of more than one DMARDs prescription and may, in fact, result in many months of varying combinations and changes in prescriptions used. With this, rheumatoid arthritis patients should use all optional forms of treatment in an effort to improve health care and alleviate pain while the prescription drugs are in the process of being customized to your specific RA condition.
As with any progressive disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that creates a significant degree of pain, immobility and loss of independence through damaged joints and bones. For sufferers, the key to optimal health outcomes may lie in the use of DMARDs, in varying combinations, as a second line, aggressive, form of therapy in the fight against RA. When suffering with pain, even when controlled by NSAIDs, consider discussing the use of DMARDs with your healthcare provider as the use of DMARDs, early in the RA diagnosis, may prevent the further deterioration and erosion of bones and joints.