If you have been struggling with rheumatoid arthritis, you might wonder what other treatments are out there. Maybe you struggle at the end of the day or experience great pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is difficult because the disease is chronic. So far, there is no cure. However, there are many reasons to be resilient. New studies take place frequently, so it is important to keep up with new developments. This will give you hope and help you pursue new avenues. These treatments may even become commonplace in the future. Some are even pending or new on the market.
The Medical University of Vienna conducted a study on a new treatment option. In this study, patients were treated for about six months. They were given a common medication called methotrexate. Methotrexate is a common medication for rheumatoid arthritis on the market. For many, this medication is very helpful and helps them get through their daily lives. However, some of the patients did not respond to the medication. This created a challenge for the research team. How could they improve the lives of patients? They started to tinker with alternative options. If the patients did not respond, the researchers added a new treatment. This treatment was a new combination of medications. The combined treatment included methotrexate and a biological agent. The biological agent was an agent like adalimumab. This is a new experiment because biological agents had not been used. It fact, the use of biologics for rheumatoid arthritis is pretty revolutionary. This treatment was administered by injection. This treatment worked in varying degrees, but overall was pretty effective. However, it did not work for all patients.
New solutions showed there are even more effective treatments out there. Instead of injections, there is a new treatment administered orally. This is a crucial development because some people to not like injections. It is also easier to have treatments administered at home if done with oral tablets. This combination was of methotrexate and the chemically synthesized biologic, tofacitinib. The results of the study, showed a lot of promise. Researchers were able to show the combination of methotrexate and tofacitinib produced as good an effect as the current standard combination of methotrexate and adalimumab. This makes methotrexate a more accessible option to the market, without compromising treatment.
Understanding how treatments work is critical to figuring out if they will work for you. Many patients know little about tofacitinib, since it is a newer and previously unknown treatment option. There is much that should be explained to those considering this new treatment. You may be asking yourself why a biologic will work for you. This treatment works by inhibiting particular enzymes. The main enzyme it inhibits is the Janus Kinases enzyme. This enzyme is mainly responsible for the inflammatory response. For those with rheumatoid arthritis, it is the inflammatory response that causes their pain and discomfort. The Janus Kinases enzymes are messengers to the cell. They carry signals from various inflammatory substances. These substances, such as interleukin-6 or interferons, cause the inflammation you typically feel. As you already know, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune disorder. Therefore, limiting this enzyme mitigates the triggering of destructive inflammation that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps suppress the pain symptoms related to inflammation and the disorder. If you are living in the United States or Europe, this treatment option is available and may help you.
Other new treatments
Beyond tofacitinib, there are several other treatments that are either on the market or in research. Most of these options are taken in conjunction with methotrexate. One such option is Sarilumab. Sarilumab is an anti-IL-6 receptor antibody. It functions by inhibiting signals to the receptor. This slows the pain that you feel with rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies have even suggested that this treatment can be more effective than a treatment with adalimumab. It also have similar stability to other treatment options on the market. As similar treatment to Sarilumab, Sirukumab has shown some promise as a treatment. While the results on this treatment were more mixed, there is much more research needed. Some patients did see improvement. In general, there are many more treatments out there in studies, particularly in the biologic group. It may help to research the differences to see which one could help you.
Beyond medicine, there are many steps you can take to remain healthy. Diet and exercise are two factors that can decrease inflammation. Vitamin supplements are certain foods are particularly helpful. Fish is one example of a helpful food. Oils are another great source. Dealing with the emotional side of things is crucial.
A positive mental state can even dull your pain receptors. Proper sleep can help you get through a busy day. There are many exercises and physical therapies to assist with day to day tasks. A cold pack can help with muscle pain. Some people also enjoy having a hot pack to relieve pain. Creams can also work to relieve muscle and joint pain. There are also some over the counter pain medications. If you really need, there are prescription pain medications. As with any prescription medications, finding what works may be trial and error. Keeping trying until you have a routine that works for you.
These treatments are still very experimental. This means they will not work for everyone. Unfortunately, all new studies don’t find promising treatments. It was found the monotherapy in conjunction with tofacitinib does not work as effectively. So in that case, methrexate is still needed. Regardless, finding treatment that work are a complicated process.
A method may work great for ninety out of one hundred people. But for the other ten, it may not work at all. It may take many treatments and combinations to find what works best for you. Sometimes, a medicine will take a month or two to kick in. Monitor your symptoms every day. If you find some relief or side effects, notate if and mention it to your doctor.
If one treatment does not work, don't become discouraged. Keep working with your doctor to tweak medications, natural options, therapy, and other methods. Your medical team is a great resource. Find the best professionals in the field that are closest to you. Then, they can make a comprehensive treatment plan. A comprehensive treatment plan will eventually find the right combination for you.
The bottom line
Remember, it is always important to keep a positive mindset. This will help you power through. Being curious and reading up on new treatments is a great way to channel your energy. It will help you as you progress with different treatments. It may even help you find a new treatment option to suggest to your doctor and other medical professions. Pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and research hospitals are always searching for new treatment options. As a rheumatoid arthritis patient, you can get involved in medical trials or fundraising. Those are great ways to help others while working towards a common goal.
"New, Oral Treatment Option for Rheumatoid Arthritis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2017. Web. 10 July 2017.
What's New in Rheumatology. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/whats-new-in-rheumatology N.p., n.d. Web. 14 July 2017.