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Medications for inflammatory arthritis

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

You should be given information about these medications, any monitoring (for example, blood tests) you'll need, and any precautions you may need to take. Ideally, you should start these drugs 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 don't 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).


If you take an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) (for example, cilazapril, enalapril, quinapril, losartan or candesartan) and a diuretic (for example, furosemide or bendroflumethiazide), taking 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're taking an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) and a diuretic.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by rheumatologist, Department of Rheumatology, Immunology & Allergy, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2017.

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Page reference: 48768

Review key: HIRPA-18707