DMARD for arthritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

The word "DMARD" stands for “disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug.

These drugs are also referred to as slow-acting anti-rheumatic drugs (SAARDS). Their purpose is to slow the progression of arthritis. They are generally used in the management of inflammatory forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid disease, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, Sjogren's disease, and Reiter's disease.

DMARDS have multiple effects on the immune system and are not very selective. Different DMARDS have different modes of action.

Examples of drugs that fall into this category include methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral), mycophenolate mofetil (Cellcept), and a few others.

More recently, biologic agents have emerged as drugs that are more specific and perhaps more effective. While some rheumatolgoists still use combinations of DMARDS to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, most rheumatologists now use DMARDS in combination with biologic agents. Biologics have also been used as monotherapy (by themselves).

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