Skip to content
    Select An Article

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Guide

    (continued)
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs: Glucocorticoids

    Glucocorticoids are steroids. They are strong anti-inflammatory drugs that can also block other immune responses. These rheumatoid arthritis medications help relieve symptoms and may stop or slow joint damage. You receive these RA drugs by pill, or by injection.

    Because of the risk of side effects, you should only use these RA drugs for brief periods, for example, when disease flares up or until DMARDs reach their full effectiveness. If your side effects are severe, don't stop taking the drug suddenly. Talk first with your doctor about what to do.

    Examples of glucocorticoids:

     

    Name Brand Name(s) Precautions Potential Side Effects

    betamethasone

    injectable

    Celestone Tell your doctor if you have:
    • Fungal infection
    • History of TB
    • Underactive thyroid
    • Diabetes
    • Stomach ulcer
    • High blood pressure
    • Osteoporosis
    • Bruising
    • Cataracts
    • Increased cholesterol
    •Atherosclerosis
    • High blood pressure
    • Increased appetite or indigestion
    • Mood swings or nervousness
    • Muscle weakness
    • Osteoporosis
    • Infections

    prednisone

    Ravos Tell your doctor if you have:
    • Fungal infection
    • History of TB
    • Underactive thyroid
    • Diabetes
    • Stomach ulcer
    • High blood pressure
    • Osteoporosis
    • Bruising
    • Cataracts
    • Increased cholesterol
    •Atherosclerosis
    • High blood pressure
    • Increased appetite or indigestion
    • Mood swings or nervousness
    • Muscle weakness
    • Osteoporosis
    • Infections

     

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs: NSAIDs

    NSAIDs work by blocking an enzyme that promotes inflammation. By reducing inflammation, NSAIDS help reduce swelling and pain. But they are not effective in reducing joint damage. These drugs alone are not effective in treating the disease. They should be taken in combination with other rheumatoid arthritis medications.

    As with glucocorticoids, you should use them for brief periods -- they can cause severe digestive tract problems. Which type, if any, your doctor prescribes may depend upon your medical history. If you have a history of liver, kidney, heart problems or stomach ulcers, it's best to not take these drugs. Ask your doctor whether any new NSAIDS producing fewer side effects are available.

    Examples of NSAIDs:
     

    Name Brand Name(s) Precautions Potential Side Effects
    celecoxib Celebrex • Tell your doctor if you have had a heart attack, stroke, angina, blood clot, or high blood pressure or if you have sensitivity to NSAIDS or sulfa drugs.
    • Do not take with other NSAIDS.
    • Do not take late in pregnancy.

    • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke

    Indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain
    • Serious skin reactions

    diclofenac sodium

    Voltaren

    Tell your doctor if you:
    • Drink alcohol
    • Use blood thinners
    • Take ACE inhibitors, lithium, warfarin, or furosemide
    • Have sensitivity to aspirin; kidney, liver, or heart disease; asthma; high blood pressure; ulcers
    • Do not take with other NSAIDs.

    • Abdominal cramps, diarrhea
    • Dizziness or drowsiness
    • Heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, ulcer, or bleeding
    • Increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke

    Greater risk of complications for people with cardiovascular disease
    ibuprofen Motrin, Advil

    Tell your doctor if you:
    • Drink alcohol
    • Use blood thinners
    • Take ACE inhibitors, lithium, warfarin, or furosemide
    • Have sensitivity to aspirin; kidney, liver, or heart disease; asthma; high blood pressure; ulcers
    • Do not take with other NSAIDS.

    • increased risk of heart attack and stroke

    Abdominal cramps, diarrhea
    • Dizziness or drowsiness
    • Heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, ulcer, or bleeding
    • Increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke

    Greater risk of complications for people with cardiovascular disease

     

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    rubbing hands
    Avoid these 6 common mistakes.
    mature couple exercising
    Decrease pain, increase energy.
     
    mature woman threading needle
    How much do you know?
    hands
    Swelling, fatigue, pain, and more.
     
    Lucille Ball
    Slideshow
    Hand bones X-ray
    Article
     
    prescription pills
    Article
    Woman massaging her neck
    Quiz
     
    woman roasting vegetables in oven
    Slideshow
    Woman rubbing shoulder
    Slideshow
     
    doctor and patient hand examination
    Video
    arthritis
    Article