DMARDs are used to treat inflammatory forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Many DMARDs act on the immune system to cause ‘immunosuppression’. This reduces the activity of the immune system which is attacking and damaging healthy joints. This can not only relieve symptoms but also reduce the risk of long-term damage to your joints.
DMARDs may be used on their own or combined with other DMARDs or medicines to gain the best control of your RA.
There is also a specific group of DMARDs available, known as ‘biological DMARDs’. These block certain substances in the blood and joints that cause inflammation. This reduces inflammation and halts joint damage. In addition to biological DMARDs there are ‘targeted synthetic DMARDs’. These are small molecule DMARDs that inhibit the messages or signalling within the immune system to dampen down the immune system and reduce inflammation in RA.
Biological and targeted synthetic DMARDs can only be used if other (conventional) DMARDs have not worked. DMARDs, biological DMARDs and targeted synthetic DMARDs are usually only prescribed by specialists such as your rheumatologist. Regular blood tests are usually necessary to test the effectiveness of these medicines and to check for any unwanted side effects. For more information on biological DMARDs see Things to consider when taking a biologic.
Use our medication search to find out more information about specific DMARDs, biological DMARDs and targeted synthetic DMARDs that have been prescribed for you.
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