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Psoriatic Arthritis Health Center

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Psoriatic Arthritis: Medical Treatments


Enzyme Inhibitor

Apremilast (Otezla) is a new kind of drug for long-term inflammation diseases like psoriatic arthritis. It's a pill that works by blocking a specific enzyme, a kind of protein, called PDE-4. That helps to slow other reactions that lead to inflammation and improve flexibility in joints. 

You may suddenly lose weight when you're taking it, so your doctor will want to keep an eye on how you're doing. Other possible side effects include diarrhea, nausea, headache, and mood changes or depression.


Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that relieve severe pain and swelling. You take them by mouth or inject them directly into a joint or muscle. They're not the same as the muscle-building type of anabolic steroids.

Prednisone is a common steroid. It can help for a short time, but it might make the skin rash worse.

Doctors prescribe steroids only when you really need them. If you use them for a long time, you could have serious side effects such as brittle bones and weight gain.


Most people with psoriatic arthritis will never need surgery. But when nothing else has worked, surgery can relieve pain, help an affected joint work, and allow you to move more.

A procedure called synovectomy removes the diseased lining of a joint. If the damage is very bad, you may need surgery to replace your joint, called arthroplasty. When a joint can't easily be replaced, joint fusion might make it stronger, more stable, and less painful.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on October 15, 2015
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