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Treatments

Joint and soft tissue injections
If you have an inflamed or swollen joint, or if you have pain or inflammation near a joint, your doctor may inject a steroid preparation into the affected area. It is known as a local injection because it acts only in that area.
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Adalimumab (Humira)
Adalimumab (brand name Humira) is a type of drug known as anti-TNF. In people with rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory diseases a protein called TNF is present in the blood and joints in excessive amounts, where it increases inflammation.
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Arthritis drugs and medication
Different types of arthritis are treated with different drugs. Drugs are given to improve the symptoms and, where possible, to slow or halt the progress of the condition.
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Azathioprine
Azathioprine is used in the treatment of several different types of rheumatic disease, including rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
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Ciclosporin
Ciclosporin (brand name Neoral) is used for rheumatoid arthritis to reduce pain, swelling and stiffness. It is also used for a number of other conditions, including psoriatic arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
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Cyclophosphamide
Cyclophosphamide is used for several different types of rheumatic disease, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), diseases which inflame the walls of blood vessels (e.g. polyarteritis nodosa), and sometimes for rheumatoid arthritis.
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Drugs for Osteoporosis
This sheet gives information about the various drugs used to treat osteoporosis. It describes how they are taken, typical side-effects, whether any special monitoring is required, and further information as appropriate.
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Etanercept
Etanercept (brand name Enbrel) is a type of drug known as anti-TNF. In people with rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory diseases a protein called TNF is present in the blood and joints in excessive amounts, where it increases inflammation.
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Gold by Intramuscular Injection
Intramuscular gold injections can reduce the inflammation in your joints and decrease pain, swelling and stiffness. Sometimes gold is also used to treat other rheumatic diseases, such as psoriatic arthritis.
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Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
Although the drug hydroxychloroquine (brand name Plaquenil) is used in the treatment of malaria, it is also effective for rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It can reduce inflammation and so reduce pain, swelling and stiffness of joints and improve the rash of SLE.
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Iloprost
Iloprost is a man-made version of a substance produced naturally in your body, called prostacyclin. It is prescribed for people with severe circulatory problems, for example ulcers of the fingers in people with scleroderma or related conditions.

Infliximab (Remicade)
Infliximab (brand name Remicade) is a type of drug known as anti-TNF. In people with rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory diseases a protein called TNF is present in the blood and joints in excessive amounts, where it increases inflammation.
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Intravenous immunoglobulin
Intravenous immunoglobulin, or IV Ig (immunoglobulin given by injection into a vein), can dampen down some inflammatory diseases involving the immune system. It can reduce inflammation in people with polymyositis and dermatomyositis and is sometimes used in people with lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE), adult-onset Still's disease, vasculitis or antiphospholipid syndrome.
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Leflunomide (Arava)
Leflunomide (brand name Arava) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis where the immune system (the body's own defence system) attacks its own tissues.
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Methotrexate
Methotrexate is used to treat several different types of rheumatic disease, including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Methotrexate can reduce inflammation and also can affect the immune system (the body's own defence system).
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Mycophenolate (Cellcept)
Mycophenolate mofetil (brand name CellCept) is used in the treatment of several different types of rheumatic disease, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and diseases in which there is inflammation of blood vessels ('vasculitis').
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Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
There are many different non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, indometacin, diclofenac and ketoprofen. The name means they reduce pain and stiffness due to inflammation of the joints, without using steroids.
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Rituximab (MabThera)
Rituximab (brand name MabThera) is a new type of drug which removes antibody-producing white blood cells called B-cells. Antibodies are proteins which are produced by the body in response to germs, viruses or any other substances which the body sees as foreign or dangerous.
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Steroid Tablets
Steroids can help with several different types of rheumatic disease, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). They are very effective against swelling and inflammation. However, they only suppress the disease and do not cure it.
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Sulfasalazine
Sulfasalazine is a type of drug known as a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug, or DMARD. These drugs have the effect of dampening down the underlying disease process, rather than simply treating symptoms.
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Swollen joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis

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