How to Manage Psoriatic Arthritis | Medication & Exercise | Singapore General Hospital
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Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis - Treatments

​Although there is no cure for PsA, most patients have their disease under control and lead meaningful lives. Sustained and increasing research is necessary. 

Nevertheless, there are various good drug treatments that can reduce joint swelling and pain, slow down joint damage and preserve function. Some drugs can control both skin and joint disease. Most patients have their disease under control and lead meaningful lives.

A. Medication 

NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like diclofenac acid or COX-2 inhibitors are helpful to reduce pain and stiffness. Reducing pain is important as it makes you more comfortable. However, these drugs will
only reduce the symptoms and do not slow down the progression of the disorder.

DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) are often prescribed. They reduce swelling and inflammation and slow down joint damage. These include methotrexate, sulphasalazine, leflunomide and cyclosporine. Low dose steroids may be used. Steroids can also be injected directly to a joint to relief pain and swelling. However, steroids should not be used in the long term because of significant side-effects. Stopping steroids suddenly may also trigger a flare in psoriasis skin lesions. Your doctor is the best judge on which drugs to use.

There is now a group of drugs call biological DMARDs, which can control the disease quickly and greatly slow down joint damage. They are given as injections and are expensive. Not all PsA patients are suitable or need such drugs. Your doctor is the best judge on which drugs to use.

B. Exercise

Once the inflammation is under control and you have less pain, it is important to rebuild the muscle and ligaments weakened by the arthritis. Exercise rebuilds muscle strength which can aid to stabilise the joints.

While some sports may stress the joints excessively and are not suitable, most gentle exercises like jogging, walking, swimming are good to keep you strong. It is important not to exercise the acutely swollen and painful joints. Your physiotherapist is the best person to ask for advice.

C. Surgery

Sometimes surgery is necessary to correct joint deformities or to replace a completely destroyed joint.

Psoriatic Arthritis - Preparing for surgery

Psoriatic Arthritis - Post-surgery care