The treatment armamentarium for Rheumatoid Arthritis has greatly expanded over the last 10 years. While there are some great proven treatments, below are specific treatments and approaches to the management of Rheumatoid Arthritis that should be pursued cautiously.
- Anti-inflammatory pain medications: whether over the counter or prescribed by a physician, non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications need to be take with caution and temporarily. They should never be relied on as primary treatment, and strictly for occasional pain relief. The long term consequences (cardiac, stomach ulcers, kidney and liver damage) are real and need to be watched carefully. In addition, they don’t treat your actual RA.
- Steroids work fast and really well, but again are too dangerous long term. Potential risks include osteoporosis, infections, high blood pressure, diabetes, stomach ulcers, and the list goes on.
- The Antibiotic Minocycline was previously thought to help reduce the cause of inflammation in RA patients, this treatment is however not disease modifying, and not a good approach long term.
- No Treatment – the hope it all goes away on it’s own approach. While conditions such as reactive arthritis can mimick RA and will resolve on their own in about a month, if you have real RA and symptoms for more than 4-6 weeks, putting your head in the sand and hoping for the best is a terrible plan.
- Surgery – RA leads to a lot of joint, tendon, and even neuropathic symptoms. If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and still have active disease, make sure the orthopedic surgery you are considering is not an issue that can still be treated with meds for RA. Instead of jumping too quickly for potentially risky surgery, make sure you’re receiving the best treatment available for your RA.