13 Common Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis
Claire Gillespie | June 6, 2018
The range of severity of psoriatic arthritis is wide, with 35 percent of patients claiming the mildest form of the disease — asymmetrical psoriatic arthritis. Whether you have a mild, moderate, or severe form of the disease, here are 13 common treatments to consider for psoriatic-arthritis-related pain.
Mild psoriatic arthritis: warm/cold compresses
Warm and cold compresses can be soothing for mild arthritis pain. The warmth — from a warm towel, shower, or hot tub — eases stiff joints, while cold compresses like ice packs or bags of frozen veggies help dull arthritis pain.
Mild psoriatic arthritis: acupuncture
For centuries, practitioners of Chinese medicine have prescribed acupuncture to fight arthritis-related inflammation, though Western efficacy studies are limited.
Mild psoriatic arthritis: turmeric or ginger
Both roots are anti-inflammatory. Incorporate them into your diet via smoothies, Indian dishes, or teas; or take a supplement to help battle joint pain.
Mild psoriatic arthritis: fish oil
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can reduce joint stiffness in patients with arthritis. Doctors recommend 3.3 grams of omega-3 per day.
Mild psoriatic arthritis: diet and lifestyle changes
Some people with psoriatic arthritis see improvements after cutting out inflammatory foods and drinks including alcohol, added sugar, nightshade vegetables, dairy, or gluten. Others feel better after losing weight or starting a regular exercise routine.
Mild to moderate psoriatic arthritis: corticosteroids
Some doctors prescribe systemic oral corticosteroids for people with psoriatic arthritis. For immediate relief, corticosteroids may be injected directly into an inflamed joint.
Mild to moderate psoriatic arthritis: NSAIDs
Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), help fight inflammation in the body.
Moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis: conventional synthetic DMARDs
If over-the-counter anti-inflammatories don’t work, conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs might be the next approach. These csDMARDs tamp down an overactive immune system and slow disease progression. Such drugs include methotrexate, sulfasalazine, and leflunomide.
Moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis: TNF-alpha inhibitors
Biological DMARDs — injectable drugs that are commonly known as biologics — are expensive but effective treatments that use live cells to treat moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis. TNF-alpha inhibitors are one class of biologics — which include the brand names Humira, Enbrel, Cimzia, and Simponi — that block TNF-alpha, a protein that stokes the body’s inflammatory response.
Moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis: T-cell inhibitors
Another disease-modifying biologic is brand name Orencia, which targets the immune system’s T-cells — the watchdogs that prompt the body’s inflammatory response.
Moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis: IL-17 inhibitors
The IL-17 inhibitor class of biologics — which includes brand names Cosentyx, Taltz, and Siliq — block the interleukin-17 cytokine, a protein that is involved in the body’s inflammatory response.
Moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis: IL-12/23 inhibitors
Brand name Stelara — the IL-12/23 inhibitor on the market — targets interleukins 12 and 23, proteins that are associated with psoriatic arthritis-related inflammation.
Moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis: PDE4 inhibitors
Brand name Otezla, one of the newest drugs on the market for psoriatic arthritis, is an oral medication that inhibits the activity of phosphodiesterase 4 enzymes, which promote inflammation. The drug, also known as apremilast, targets a specific protein to reduce systemic inflammation. Otezla, however, is not classified as a DMARD because clinical trials have not demonstrated radiographic improvements for psoriatic arthritis patients.
Whether you’re looking to try acupuncture, diet changes, or disease-modifying medications, be sure to talk to your doctor about all possible side effects.