Currently there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, so treatments tend to focus on controlling joint inflammation and preventing discomfort, joint damage, or disability. Your doctor will treat you based on how severe your joint disease is, with the goal of complete remission or minimal disease activity.
Depending on the severity of your psoriatic arthritis your doctor may prescribe the following:
NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which are used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Some can be taken over the counter, but if stronger pain relief is needed, they can also be made available by prescription. Any side effects should always be reported to your doctor.
DMARDs – Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are used to slow down the progression of the disease and save your joints and tissue from permanent damage. Patients would need to be monitored as side effects can vary.
Immunosuppressants – these medications are used to slow your immune system, which can be out of control in patients with PsA and psoriasis. People taking immunosuppressants are more susceptible to infections and should always be monitored by their doctor.
Biologics – There are several types of biologics that act in different ways by targeting specific areas of your immune system to block either a particular cell or protein which causes pain, inflammation as well as skin symptoms. Biologics are usually given by injection and you should always be monitored by your doctor when on a biologic. See our section on biologics for more informtion.
The good news is that researchers are working hard to develop new and exciting treatment options for patients, including the introduction of biosimilars to the marketplace – medications that are similar to a biologic, however not completely identical. Steroid injections and joint surgery may also be an option for those living with PsA.
Speak to your doctor about what treatment options might be available to you.