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Medications for inflammatory arthritis

Preventative maintenance treatment

Disease-modifying medicines (DMARDs) are used as early as possible after inflammatory arthritis is diagnosed. They can only be prescribed by a rheumatologist.

You should be provided with information about these medications, any monitoring (for example, blood tests) you will need, and any precautions you may need to take. These drugs should ideally be started within three months of inflammatory arthritis being diagnosed.

Your GP will probably monitor your DMARD treatment and refer you back to a rheumatologist if necessary.

If you prefer, or you do not want to wait, you can pay to see a private rheumatologist

Other treatments

There are various treatments for symptoms of inflammatory arthritis. These medications help to control the pain and swelling caused by arthritis.

The most common medications are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain relievers such as paracetamol and codeine, and steroids (such as prednisone).

Important information about blood pressure and heart medication, and anti-inflammatories.

If you take an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (for example Cilazapril, enalapril or quinapril) and a diuretic (for example furosemide or bendrofluazide), taking a pain relieving medicine called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) (for example ibuprofen or aspirin in high doses) could harm your kidneys. The term for this is "triple whammy". Read The Triple Whammy – Safe use of NSAIDs for more details. Check with your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist if you aren't sure whether you are taking an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker and a diuretic.

For more information, see:

On the next page: More information about rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis

Updated January 2015.

Page reference: 48768

Review key: HIRPA-18707