Arthritis Medications (cont.)
Sulfasalazine (AZULFADINE) is an oral medication traditionally used in the treatment of mild to moderately severe inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's colitis. AZULFADINE is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in combination with antiinflammatory medications. AZULFADINE is generally well tolerated. Common side effects include rash and upset stomach. Because AZULFADINE is made up of sulfa and salicylate compounds, it should be avoided by patients with known sulfa allergies.
Gold salts have been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis throughout most of this century. Gold thioglucose (SOLGANAL) and gold thiomalate (MYOCHRYSINE) are given by injection, initially on a weekly basis for months to years. Oral gold, auranofin (RIDAURA) was introduced in the 1980's. Side effects of gold (oral and injectable) include skin rash, mouth sores, kidney damage with leakage of protein in the urine, and bone marrow damage with anemia and low white cell count. Patients receiving gold treatment are regularly monitored with blood and urine tests. Oral gold can cause diarrhea.
Fibromyalgia Medications: Since the symptoms of fibromyalgia are diverse and vary among patients, treatment programs have to be individualized. Treatment programs are most effective when they combine patient education, stress reduction, regular exercise, and medications. Recent studies have verified that the best outcome for each patient results from a combination of approaches that involves the patient in customization of the treatment plan.
Glucocorticoids: Glucocorticoids are medications that include cortisone and related drugs. A glucocorticoid is hormone that predominantly affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and, to a lesser extent, fats and proteins (and has other effects). Glucocorticoids are made in the outside portion (the cortex) of the adrenal gland and chemically classed as steroids. Cortisol is the major natural glucocorticoid. The term glucocorticoid also applies to equivalent hormones synthesized in the laboratory. Glucocorticoid drugs are also called corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids have potent anti-inflammatory properties, and are used in a wide variety of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, colitis, asthma, bronchitis, certain skin rashes, and allergic or inflammatory conditions of the nose and eyes. There are numerous preparations of corticosteroids including oral tablets, capsules, liquids, topical creams and gels, inhalers and eye drops, and injectable and intravenous solutions.
Dosage requirements of corticosteroids vary among individuals and the diseases being treated. In general, the lowest possible effective dose is used. Corticosteroids given in multiple doses throughout the day are more effective, but also more toxic, than if the same total dose is given once daily, or every other day.