Psoriatic arthritis treatment
There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but medications and lifestyle changes can help ease symptoms and prevent further inflammation.
Your doctor may prescribe medications for your psoriatic arthritis. These can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which help to reduce swelling and pain. If you have mild psoriatic arthritis, over-the-counter or prescription NSAIDs may be enough to manage your condition. Steroid injections are also available to lower inflammation.
Both NSAIDs and steroids only treat symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate and cyclosporine can help slow the progression of the disease and prevent further joint damage from occurring. TNF-alpha inhibitor drugs such as such as adalimumab (Humira) and etanercept (Enbrel) also help prevent pain and swelling. There are other, newer biologic therapies available as well. Joint replacement surgery is also an option for people with very severe joint damage.
Lifestyle changes may also help ease symptoms, such as moderate exercise, stress-reduction techniques, and eating a healthy diet.
• NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve)
• DMARDs such as methotrexate (Trexall) and leflunomide (Arava)
• Biologic therapies (TNF-alpha blockers) such as adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), and infliximab (Remicade
• Immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine (Neoral, Gengraf, Sandimmune) and azathioprine (Imuran)
Psoriatic arthritis diet
Eating healthy foods may help ease some symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Because extra pounds can worsen psoriatic arthritis symptoms by putting additional pressure on the joints, it’s important to manage your weight. Consider cutting back on notorious weight-gain culprits such as candy and other sugary fare, red meat, soda, and processed foods. Some people with psoriatic arthritis also report worsened symptoms after eating a lot of dairy products.
On the other hand, fill your plate with whole grains, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel (they’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein), nuts, and fresh produce.
How to treat a psoriatic arthritis flare up
Like many other autoimmune diseases, symptoms of psoriatic arthritis tend to come and go, alternating between flares and periods of remission, often for reasons that are unknown. Some flares can affect specific joints, while others can make you feel poorly all over. Some flares are mild, others more severe. And some you may be able to manage on your own, while others may require a doctor.
If your flare is not very different from what you normally feel, or if you know what triggered it (such as stress or not getting enough sleep), you may be able to handle it on your own with rest and other lifestyle changes. But if you’re not sure exactly what caused the trigger, or if the flare is severe or long lasting, contact your doctor—you may need a change in medication. Even when your flare is under control, it’s a good idea for people with psoriatic arthritis to follow up with your doctor after four or six weeks.
Psoriatic arthritis prognosis and outlook
It’s hard to predict how psoriatic arthritis will progress. In general, it tends to get worse over time, but it also depends on what type of arthritis you have and when you receive treatment.
Most cases of asymmetric oligoarticular psoriatic arthritis (the most common form of the disease) are mild. Polyarthritis, which affects more (at least five) joints, tends to be more severe. Arthritis mutilans, the most rare form of psoriatic arthritis, can cause severe deformity and disability. The sooner you start to receive treatment, the better off you will be, and the less chance you will experience permanent joint damage.