What's the connection between psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis? Both are
thought to be caused primarily by your immune system. But not everyone who has
psoriasis -- which causes patches or plaques of scaly and inflamed skin --
develops psoriatic arthritis. This form of inflammatory arthritis causes joint
swelling and pain, and may lead to permanent deformity and damage if not
Your doctor may prescribe drugs. What he gives you will depend on how severe your arthritis is. To figure that out, he might take X-rays or do lab tests to see if your case is mild, moderate, or severe.
NSAIDs to Manage Mild Cases
If your arthritis is mild, your doctor may give you a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It stops your body from making the chemicals that cause inflammation.
There are many over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs, but your doctor will help you find the drug that works best for you. Some of the most common are ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and aspirin.
What’s good for your joints may be hard on other parts of your body, though. NSAID side effects can include stomachaches, ulcers, or bleeding -- especially if you take large doses over a long time. To help, your doctor may prescribe a drug that will protect your stomach lining or something that will lower acid and prevent ulcers. Also, a different NSAID, Celebrex, could help you if you have stomach problems.
DMARDs to Control the Disease Process
If your disease is more severe or doesn’t respond well to NSAIDs, your doctor may prescribe a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). These can slow or stop pain, swelling, and joint and tissue damage.
The most often-used DMARDs aremethotrexate, leflunomide, or sulfasalazine. Your doctor may prescribe a short-term dose of the steroid prednisone, although this drug may make skin rashes worse.
Biologics: High-Powered DMARDs
If the first round of DMARDs doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe a biologic. These drugs, a newer type of DMARD, stop your body from making a protein that causes inflammation.
You’ll probably take methotrexate along with the biologic. Most biologics are given as a shot under your skin, but some are given as an infusion into your vein in the doctor’s office, and one can be taken as a pill. Biologics work well for many people, but they have downsides.