Treatment

The goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms and treat an infection that could still be present.

Medications

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

For your arthritis signs and symptoms, your doctor might 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.
  • Topical steroids. These might be used for skin rashes caused by reactive arthritis.
  • 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

A physical therapist can provide you with targeted exercises for your joints and muscles. Strengthening exercises develop the muscles around your affected joints, which increase the joint's support. Range-of-motion exercises can increase your joints' flexibility and reduce stiffness.

Nov. 17, 2016
References
  1. Reactive arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/Reactive_Arthritis/default.asp. Accessed Sept. 27, 2016.
  2. Yu DT. Reactive arthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 27, 2016.
  3. Reactive arthritis. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Reactive-Arthritis. Accessed Sept. 27, 2016.
  4. What is reactive arthritis? Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/reactive-arthritis/. Accessed Sept. 27, 2016.