Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms and treat any underlying infections that may still be present.

Medications

If your reactive arthritis was triggered by a bacterial infection, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic. Which antibiotic you take depends on the bacteria that are present.

For your arthritis signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Prescription NSAIDs, such as indomethacin (Indocin), can relieve the inflammation and pain of reactive arthritis.
  • Corticosteroids. Injection of a corticosteroid into affected joints can reduce inflammation and allow you to return to your normal activity level.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis drugs. Limited evidence suggests that medications such as sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), methotrexate (Trexall) or etanercept (Enbrel) can relieve pain and stiffness for some people with reactive arthritis.

Physical therapy

Exercise can help people with arthritis improve joint function. A physical therapist can provide you with specific exercises for your joints and muscles. Strengthening exercises are valuable for developing the muscles around your affected joints, which increase the joint's support. Performing range-of-motion exercises can increase your joints' flexibility and reduce stiffness.

Feb. 19, 2014

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