No cure exists for psoriatic arthritis, so treatment focuses on controlling inflammation in your affected joints to prevent joint pain and disability.
Drugs used to treat psoriatic arthritis include:
- NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription. Side effects may include stomach irritation, heart problems, and liver and kidney damage.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These drugs can slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Common DMARDs include methotrexate (Trexall), leflunomide (Arava), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine). Side effects vary but may include liver damage, bone marrow suppression and severe lung infections.
- Immunosuppressants. These medications act to tame your immune system, which is out of control in psoriatic arthritis. Examples include azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) and cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune). These medications can increase your susceptibility to infection.
- TNF-alpha inhibitors. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is an inflammatory substance produced by your body. TNF-alpha inhibitors can help reduce pain, morning stiffness, and tender or swollen joints. Examples include etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), golimumab (Simponi) and certolizumab (Cimzia). Potential side effects include nausea, diarrhea, hair loss and an increased risk of serious infections.
- Newer medications. Some newly developed medications for plaque psoriasis can also reduce the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Examples include apremilast (Otezla), ustekinumab (Stelara) and secukinumab (Cosentyx).
Surgical and other procedures
- Steroid injections. This type of medication reduces inflammation quickly and is sometimes injected into an affected joint.
- Joint replacement surgery. Joints that have been severely damaged by psoriatic arthritis can be replaced with artificial prostheses made of metal and plastic.
Oct. 27, 2016
- Psoriatic arthritis overview. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/psoriatic_arthritis/default.asp. Accessed June 28, 2016.
- Firestein GS, et al. Psoriatic arthritis. In: Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 28, 2016.
- Ferri FF. Psoriatic arthritis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 28, 2016.
- Gladman DD, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 6, 2016.
- Gladman DD, et al. Treatment of psoriatic arthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 6, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Psoriatic arthritis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.