Discover the Top List Medication for Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. While there is no cure for this condition, List of Medication for Rheumatoid Arthritis can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of joint damage.

There are several types of medications available for rheumatoid arthritis treatment, each with its own benefits and potential side effects. In this section, we will explore the top medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and provide a comprehensive list of these medications.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

list of medication for rheumatoid arthritis

One of the most common types of medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis is Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs. They work by reducing inflammation in the joints, which helps to relieve pain and stiffness. NSAIDs are available over-the-counter or by prescription and come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and creams.

How do NSAIDs work?

NSAIDs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. By reducing the amount of these hormones, NSAIDs can help to decrease inflammation in the joints, which can lead to less pain and stiffness.

Benefits of NSAIDs for rheumatoid arthritis

NSAIDs can be an effective way to manage the pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis. They can help to improve joint function and reduce inflammation, which can lead to an improved quality of life for people with the condition. NSAIDs can also be used as a short-term solution to manage pain during flare-ups.

Potential side effects of NSAIDs

Like all medications, NSAIDs can have side effects. Common side effects include stomach pain, heartburn, and nausea. Long-term use of NSAIDs can increase the risk of digestive problems, such as ulcers and bleeding. In rare cases, NSAIDs can cause more serious side effects such as kidney problems.

Commonly used NSAIDs for rheumatoid arthritis treatment

Generic Name Brand Name
Ibuprofen Advil, Motrin
Aspirin Bayer, Ecotrin
Naproxen Aleve
Celecoxib Celebrex

Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are a type of medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Unlike NSAIDs, which are used primarily to manage pain and inflammation, DMARDs work by targeting the immune system to slow down the progression of the disease and prevent joint damage.

DMARDs are typically prescribed for people with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, or those who have not responded well to NSAIDs. These medications can take several weeks or even months to take effect, and it is important to continue taking them as prescribed, even if you do not notice immediate improvement.

There are several different types of DMARDs that may be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, including:

Type of DMARD Examples
Synthetic DMARDs Methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, hydroxychloroquine
Biologic DMARDs Adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab, rituximab, tocilizumab, abatacept
Targeted synthetic DMARDs Tofacitinib, baricitinib, upadacitinib

The choice of DMARD will depend on various factors, such as the severity of the disease, potential side effects, and other underlying health conditions. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs.

As with any medication, DMARDs can have potential side effects. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, and increased risk of infections. Regular check-ups and blood tests may be necessary to monitor for these potential side effects.

It is important to continue taking DMARDs as prescribed, even if you do not notice immediate improvement. Over time, DMARDs can slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and help prevent joint damage, leading to improved overall quality of life.

Biological Response Modifiers (BRMs)

Biological response modifiers (BRMs) are a newer type of medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. They work by targeting specific parts of the immune system that contribute to inflammation. Unlike traditional DMARDs, BRMs are made from living cells and are given by injection or infusion.

BRMs may be used alone or in combination with other medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis. They are typically prescribed for people who have not seen improvement with other treatments or who have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Some commonly used BRMs for rheumatoid arthritis include:

Medication Name Method of Administration Potential Side Effects
Abatacept (Orencia) Injection Headache, nausea, infections
Adalimumab (Humira) Injection Injection site reactions, infections
Anakinra (Kineret) Injection Skin reactions at injection site, infections
Etanercept (Enbrel) Injection Injection site reactions, infections
Golimumab (Simponi) Injection or infusion Injection site reactions, infections

As with any medication, BRMs can cause side effects. Common side effects include injection site reactions, infections, and flu-like symptoms. Rare but serious side effects may include an increased risk of infections, tuberculosis, and cancer.When to Consider BRMs

Your doctor may recommend BRMs if other treatments have not been effective in managing your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. BRMs may also be prescribed if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

It is important to discuss the potential benefits and risks of BRMs with your doctor before starting treatment. Your doctor will consider factors such as your overall health, medical history, and current medications before recommending BRMs.

list of medication for rheumatoid arthritis

Corticosteroids: Powerful but Risky Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications

Corticosteroids are a type of medication used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients. They work by suppressing the immune system, which can help reduce joint swelling, stiffness, and pain.

While corticosteroids can provide fast and effective relief from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, they also come with some potential risks and side effects. Long-term use of corticosteroids can cause thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), weight gain, mood changes, and high blood pressure. These side effects can be particularly concerning for older adults and those with other health conditions.

Because of these risks, corticosteroids are generally used as a short-term treatment to manage acute flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis. They are often used in combination with other medications, such as DMARDs and NSAIDs, to provide more comprehensive relief.

Commonly Used Corticosteroids for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Corticosteroid Brand Name Route of Administration
Prednisone Deltasone, Rayos Oral
Methylprednisolone Medrol Oral, Injection
Dexamethasone Decadron Oral, Injection
Triamcinolone Aristocort Oral, Injection

If you are prescribed corticosteroids for rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to use them as directed by your doctor and to monitor for any side effects. Your doctor may also recommend regular bone density scans to monitor for osteoporosis.

While corticosteroids can be an effective short-term treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, they are not the only option. In the next section, we will explore other medications commonly used to manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.


Analgesics are painkillers that reduce pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. They come in various forms, including over-the-counter and prescription medications. While analgesics can offer short-term relief from pain and discomfort, they do not treat the underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis.

The most commonly used analgesics for rheumatoid arthritis include:

Analgesic How it works Side effects
Acetaminophen Reduces pain and fever by blocking the production of chemicals in the brain Nausea, stomach upset, and liver damage with high doses
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Reduces pain and inflammation by blocking the production of chemicals in the body Stomach upset, ulcers, and increased risk of stroke or heart attack with long-term use
Cox-2 inhibitors Reduces pain and inflammation by blocking the production of chemicals in the body Increased risk of heart attack or stroke, stomach upset, and kidney damage with long-term use

It is important to talk to your doctor before taking any analgesics, especially if you have a history of liver or kidney disease, or if you are taking other medications that may interact with them.

Combination Therapies

For some people with rheumatoid arthritis, using a combination of medications can offer a more effective approach to managing the condition. Combination therapies typically involve using different types of medications that work in different ways to control inflammation and pain.

Combining medications can be particularly helpful for those who have not had success with single medications or who experience more severe symptoms.

However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with combination therapies. Taking multiple medications can increase the risk of side effects and interactions between drugs.

It’s crucial to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the right combination of medications for your unique needs and health situation.

Commonly Used Combination Therapies

Combination Therapy Medications Used
Triple Therapy Methotrexate + Sulfasalazine + Hydroxychloroquine
Biologic + Methotrexate Etanercept + Methotrexate or Adalimumab + Methotrexate
JAK Inhibitor + Biologic Tofacitinib + Biologic

Triple therapy involves using three different DMARDs, while biologic and methotrexate therapy combine a biologic drug with methotrexate. JAK inhibitors, a newer class of drugs, can also be used in combination with biologics to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

It’s important to note that not all combination therapies are suitable for everyone. Your healthcare provider can help determine which combination therapy is best for your specific needs.

list of medication for rheumatoid arthritis

Lifestyle Changes and Alternative Treatments

While medication can be highly effective in managing rheumatoid arthritis, it is not the only option. Lifestyle changes and alternative treatments can also play an important role in managing symptoms and improving overall health. Here are some options to consider:


Some people with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from making dietary changes. For example, there is evidence that consuming omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts may help reduce inflammation.

At the same time, some people find that avoiding certain foods may help reduce symptoms. Common culprits include sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods.


While it may be difficult to exercise when experiencing joint pain, it is important to stay active as much as possible. Exercise can help build strength, improve flexibility, and reduce pain and inflammation.

Low-impact exercises, such as swimming, walking, and yoga, are a good place to start. And remember to talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise regimen.

Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, and meditation, may also help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

While there is still some debate about their effectiveness, many people find them helpful and they may be worth trying. Just be sure to do your research and find a qualified practitioner.

Other Lifestyle Changes

Other lifestyle changes that may help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and quitting smoking.

Remember, every person’s experience with rheumatoid arthritis is different. It may take some experimentation to find the combination of lifestyle changes and treatments that work best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication

Living with rheumatoid arthritis is not easy, but with proper medications, patients can manage the disease and enjoy a better quality of life. If you have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you may have questions about the medications you are taking, their side effects, and how long they take to work. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about rheumatoid arthritis medication.

How long does it take for rheumatoid arthritis medication to work?

The time it takes for rheumatoid arthritis medication to take effect varies depending on the type of medication, the severity of your condition, and your body’s response to treatment. Some medications, such as corticosteroids, may start working within a few hours or days, while others, such as DMARDs, may take several weeks or even months to take full effect. It’s important to be patient and follow your doctor’s instructions, even if you don’t notice immediate relief from your symptoms.

Who can benefit from rheumatoid arthritis medication?

Most people with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from medication, regardless of the severity of their symptoms. Medication can help manage pain, reduce inflammation, slow down joint damage, and prevent disability. Your doctor will determine the best treatment plan for you based on your symptoms, medical history, and overall health. It’s important to take your medications as prescribed and attend regular check-ups to monitor your progress.

What are the potential side effects of rheumatoid arthritis medication?

All medications have potential side effects, and rheumatoid arthritis medication is no exception. However, not everyone experiences side effects, and most side effects can be managed with proper medical care. The type and severity of side effects depend on the medication, the dose, and your individual response to treatment. Common side effects of rheumatoid arthritis medication include nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches, dizziness, and increased risk of infections. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor or pharmacist.

How can I manage potential side effects of rheumatoid arthritis medication?

If you experience side effects from your rheumatoid arthritis medication, there are several ways to manage them. You can try adjusting the dose or switching to a different medication. Your doctor may also recommend taking the medication with food or at a different time of day. If you experience severe side effects, such as an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. It’s also important to report all side effects to your doctor, as they may need to adjust your treatment plan accordingly.

Can I stop taking my rheumatoid arthritis medication if I feel better?

No, you should never stop taking your rheumatoid arthritis medication without first consulting your doctor. Even if you feel better, stopping your medication abruptly can cause a flare-up of your symptoms and may lead to long-term joint damage. Your doctor will advise you on the safest way to stop taking your medication if necessary.

By understanding your rheumatoid arthritis medication and its potential effects, you can take an active role in managing your condition and living a healthier, more comfortable life.

Jillian Hunt is a strong and inspiring individual who has been living with arthritis for over a decade. Despite the challenges she faces, she’s determined to find ways to manage her condition and improve her quality of life. She’s also an advocate for others who face similar challenges, sharing her insights on various forums.

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Arthritis Treatment Lab is a blog dedicated to providing information and resources on various treatment options for arthritis. From traditional approaches such as medication and physical therapy, to alternative therapies like acupuncture and herbal remedies, we strive to educate and empower individuals who are living with this condition. Our articles cover the latest research findings, practical tips for managing symptoms, and personal stories from people who have successfully overcome arthritis. Whether you are newly diagnosed or a long-time sufferer, Arthritis Treatment Lab is here to support you on your journey towards better health.