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What is the treatment for psoriatic arthritis?

The medical treatment of the arthritis aspects of psoriatic arthritis is described below. The treatment of psoriasis and the other involved organs is beyond the scope of this article.

Generally, the treatment of arthritis in psoriatic arthritis involves a combination of anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and exercise. If progressive inflammation and joint destruction occur despite NSAIDs treatment, more potent medications such as methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), corticosteroids, and antimalarial medications (such as hydroxychloroquine [Plaquenil]) are used.

Exercise programs can be done at home or with a physical therapist and are customized according to the disease and physical capabilities of each patient. Warm-up stretching, or other techniques, such as a hot shower or heat applications are helpful to relax muscles prior to exercise. Ice application after the routine can help minimize post-exercise soreness and inflammation. In general, exercises for arthritis are performed for the purpose of strengthening and maintaining or improving joint range of motion. They should be done on a regular basis for best results.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a group of medications that are helpful in reducing joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, indomethacin (Indocin), tolmetin sodium (Tolectin), sulindac (Clinoril), and diclofenac (Voltaren). Their most frequent side effects include stomach upset and ulceration. The drugs can also cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Newer NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors (such as celecoxib [Celebrex]) cause gastrointestinal problems less frequently.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: gwiz70, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 15

I've had psoriasis for the last 27 years, initially misdiagnosed like most on this forum, I got diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis 2 years ago. I have been on diclofenac for pain and sulphasalazine for the inflammation plus vitamin D supplements. Sulphasalazine has helped to keep the arthritis under control but has increased the amount of psoriasis patches on my body.

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Comment from: shannon, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 29

I got an electric shock in my apartment swimming pool. The pool equipment was not connected to a GCFI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) and after entering the pool, I dove forward. The feeling was excruciating like I was being slammed into a brick wall head first. It blew me back in the water, and pivoted me. Moving through the water was extremely difficult. It felt like the water was quicksand, slightly pulling me backwards. I pulled myself forward like I was dragging myself through chest deep sand. I couldn't lift my leg up in the water. I reached in the water with my hand and lifted my left foot onto the bottom step of the pool. I scraped my right elbow out over the pool side, got my arms propped under me and dragged my body out. I was immediately paralyzed. I had severe pain, like something had ripped apart all of my bones and tissue in my arms, hands, feet and legs. I called for help and a neighbor called 911. Half hour later I was able to walk with assistance and went to the emergency room. I have a herniated disk in my neck and nerve injuries in my arms and hands. The pain is most significant in my hands. I have regular neuropathy that has developed over the last 2 months. The incident occurred approximately 6 months ago. My memory and balance are off, my speech is affected, and ability to multitask is hindered.

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Comment from: TIREDRN, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at age 31 after having my 2nd child. I was bedridden with severe knee swelling and pain. I was able to get Enbrel along with methotrexate. Vioxx was wonderful but taken off the market. I'm allergic to Celebrex due to a sulfa allergy. Also I have ulcers from NSAIDs. For the last 12 years I have done fairly well on my current medications along with Lortab one 1hr before I get up and one in the evening.

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