Treatments and Doctor Partnership

You can take part in managing your arthritis by knowing what your treatment options are. Once you understand your arthritis treatment options, you and your doctor can work together to find a treatment and create a care plan that works for you and your lifestyle.

Click the tabs below to learn more about the different treatment types for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).

  • NSAIDs

    What are NSAIDs?

    About NSAIDs

    NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) help treat RA pain and inflammation. They’re often prescribed with DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) because DMARDs can help prevent joint damage from worsening, while NSAIDs only treat pain and inflammation.

    How to take it:

    Pill or patch

    Corticosteroids

    What are corticosteroids?

    About corticosteroids

    Corticosteroids are hormonesCLOSE Hormones: messenger molecules that are released into the bloodstream and carried to the organ or tissue to exert their actions/functions. that reduce RA swelling and inflammation.

    How to take it:

    Topical ointment, pill, or injection

    DMARDs

    What are DMARDs?

    About DMARDs

    Methotrexate is one of the most commonly prescribed DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs). It’s often prescribed when RA is diagnosed to help reduce pain and swelling in the joints and slow the progression of joint damage.

    How to take it:

    Pill and, in some cases, an injection

    Biologics

    What are biologics?

    About biologics

    Biologics are another type of DMARD that target specific parts of the immune system. They help reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, and slow the progression of joint damage.

    How to take it:

    Injection and/or infusion, depending on medication

  • Analgesics

    WHAT ARE ANALGESICS?

    What are analgesics

    Analgesics are medications that relieve pain. Analgesics include some over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen and some prescription medications.

    How to take it:

    Pill

    NSAIDs

    WHAT ARE NSAIDs?

    What are NSAIDs

    NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are a specific type of analgesic that help to control inflammation in addition to relieving pain.

    How to take it:

    Pill or patch

    Corticosteroids

    WHAT ARE CORTICOSTEROIDS?

    What are corticosteriods

    Corticosteroids are hormonesCLOSE Hormones: messenger molecules that are released into the bloodstream and carried to the organ or tissue to exert their actions/functions. that reduce inflammation.

    How to take it:

    Pill or injection into an affected joint

    Hyaluronic Acid

    WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?

    What is hyaluronic acid

    In people with OA, the natural lubricant between joints begins to disappear. Hyaluronic acid is used to replace the natural lubricant that is lost due to OA.

    How to take it:

    Injection

Doctor Partnership

Your doctor may be a medical expert, but you’re the expert when it comes to knowing how you feel. It’s important that you talk openly with your doctor about how arthritis is impacting your life, what you hope to achieve with treatment, and any questions you may have. Patients who take a more active role in their care tend to be more satisfied with their treatments.

To help you in talking openly with your doctor, we’ve created a simple worksheet where you can record your treatment goals, questions, and concerns. All you need to do is fill out the worksheet below. When you’re finished, you can print or e-mail the completed worksheet and then share it with your doctor.

1

Treatment Goals

Defining what you want out of treatment can help you and your doctor decide which arthritis treatment option may be right for you. Use the thought starters below to set your treatment goals and then work with your doctor to reach them.

2

Questions for Your Doctor

While sitting on the exam room table, it can be difficult to think of all the questions you want to discuss with your doctor. To help you make the most of your next appointment, we created a list of questions that you may want to ask—plus, space to add a few of your own. That way, you can leave your doctor’s office knowing you have the answers you need.

1. I’m interested in a treatment that is convenient. What would you recommend?
2. What can I expect after beginning treatment?
3. There are certain activities and hobbies I hope to pick up again. Can we achieve this?
4. What should I do if my symptoms worsen?
5. If I’m dissatisfied with my treatment, what other options can we try?
3

Post-Appointment Tips

After your appointment, you may be asking yourself, “Now what?” We’ve put together a list of things you can do to help manage your arthritis, even after visiting your doctor.

Finding a Pharmacy

Some arthritis treatments may only be available through a specialty pharmacy. Specialty pharmacies are different than your neighborhood pharmacy in that they offer extra support for patients taking medications for chronic conditions.

Often, they will arrange to have your medication delivered right to your front door. Work with your insurance provider to find a pharmacy that works for you.

Keeping Up with Treatment

If you’ve started treatment for arthritis, it’s important that you take your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. There are simple things you can do to help you in remembering when it’s time to take your medication.

First, you can set reminders on your mobile phone. You can also combine taking your medication with a daily task, like brushing your teeth.

Leaning on Your Support System

When you’re feeling alone, remember to lean on your loved ones. Even though they may not understand exactly what you’re going through, they’re likely willing to listen, laugh, or love when you need them.

Plus, we’re here to offer advice on how to manage arthritis in your daily life—from tips on sex and dating to empowering techniques on how to take control of your finances.