Examples include:


Methotrexate

Sulfasalazine

Leflunomide

Azathioprine

Hydroxychloroquine

Penicillamine

Mycophenolate mofetil

Ciclosporin

Sodium aurothiomalate

It is these drugs which have improved the outlook for those with rheumatoid arthritis in recent years. Contrary to treatments in the past, it is now usual to start a DMARD as soon as possible after diagnosis, often in combination with another DMARD.

What are DMARDs ?


DMARD: Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug


These drugs ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis but also reduce the damaging effects of the disease on the joints by blocking certain chemicals involved in the inflammation process.

Each DMARD has different possible side-effects, and vary in their effectiveness in different people.   It is not unusual for someone to try several DMARDs, either singly or in combination before a  suitable treatment is found.

DMARDS often have no immediate effects on pain or inflammation, and could take several weeks  or months before you notice the effects. Your disease activity will be monitored (probably with a blood test for C-reactive protein CRP) whilst on the drug.   You will also have other blood tests to check for side effects.  

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