Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications (cont.)
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How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?
Knowing as much as possible about rheumatoid arthritis helps people learn to cope with the problems it causes. Exercise should be started to help improve and sustain range of motion, increase muscle strength, and reduce pain. Learning how to use joints and tendons efficiently is necessary in order to reduce stress and tension on the joints.
Drug therapy for rheumatoid arthritis has improved so much that it can now slow disease progression, preventing joint damage and loss of function. The earlier that treatment is started, the better the chance to slow disease progression and prevent damage and loss of function.
People who are severely disabled by rheumatoid arthritis may require orthopedic surgery for joint reconstruction or replacement. Pain relievers may be used occasionally. Such drugs include acetaminophen (Tylenol), tramadol (Ultram), or narcotic-containing pain relievers. These drugs do not reduce joint swelling or damage.
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Kristine M Lohr, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Arthur Weinstein, MD
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