Psoriatic arthritis treatment: medications, corticosteroids and more


Although psoriatic arthritis is not currently cured, early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid serious joint damage and other complications.

There are a number of medications and therapies that can help improve the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. You and your doctor can choose the best treatment for you based on the extent and severity of your condition.

Read on to learn more about all of the treatment options available.

Your doctor may prescribe several types of medications to help you manage your symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, especially if they get worse. They can even prescribe a combination of drugs.

Examples include:

Corticosteroid injections may sometimes be recommended to reduce the inflammation caused by psoriatic arthritis.

With these injections, your doctor can target specific joints or areas where you experience the most pain and inflammation. This could increase your relief while reducing potential side effects.

Oral steroids that affect the whole body and cause bone loss are no longer recommended for psoriatic arthritis.

Ultraviolet light can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, so light therapy is sometimes used to treat the skin component of psoriatic psoriasis, not joint inflammation.

Several types of light therapy can be used. They understand:

  • Narrowband UVB phototherapy. The “gold standard” for treating psoriasis, this type of light therapy exposes your entire body to UVB light in a closed box for a few minutes at a time.
  • Sunlight. About 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure can help people with mild symptoms.
  • Excimer laser. This portable device can be used on specific small areas. Treatments are carried out 10 to 12 times, several times a week.
  • UVA light. By itself, UVA light does not help psoriasis. In clinical settings, it is associated with a chemical called PUVA. It takes 20 to 25 treatments several times a week to see results.

If your psoriatic arthritis gets worse and other treatments and medications are not helping you, your doctor may recommend orthopedic surgery.

These surgeries are usually suggested when you are at risk of serious joint damage or your functions are limited due to pain and inflammation.

The most common types of orthopedic surgery for people with psoriatic arthritis are total hip replacements and knee surgery or replacement.

Complementary and alternative therapies can also relieve psoriatic arthritis.

Talk to your doctor to understand how these therapies can help your specific condition and how often to use them:

  • Physiotherapy and rehabilitation can improve function and reduce pain.
  • Acupuncture has not been scientifically proven to help psoriatic arthritis, but many people report that it gives them some relief.
  • Therapeutic massage can promote relaxation and loosen joints.
  • Herbs and nutritional supplements may also be beneficial for some people.

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