Drugs for the treatment of Arthritis and Rheumatism in Nigeria.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

#CAUSES

Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints. It protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue cause some forms of arthritis.

đź“ŚNormal wear and tear causes osteoarthritis, one of the most common forms of arthritis. An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Your risk of developing OA may be higher if you have a family history of the disease.

📌Another common form of arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks affect the synovium, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints.

#SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Arthritis is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. Arthritis is more common in women than men and in people who are overweight. Few symptoms are:
👉Joint pain
👉Stiffness
👉Swelling are the most common.

Your range of motion may also decrease, and you may experience redness of the skin around the joint. Many people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worse in the morning.
In the case of RA, you may feel tired or experience a loss of appetite due to the inflammation the immune system’s activity causes. You may also become anemic meaning your red blood cell count decreases or have a slight fever. Severe RA can cause joint deformity if left.

#DIAGNOSIS

Arthritis can be diagnosed by:
👉Clinical diagnosis
👉Blood tests
👉Radiological investigations like X-rays

Treatment – Drugs for the treatment of Arthritis and Rheumatism in Nigeria

Most people who have rheumatoid arthritis take some type of medication. Medications for rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism typically fall into five categories:

1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, celebrex, peroxicam (felvin), athrotec etc. The commonest side of NSAIDS is that prolonged use can cause stomach ulcer and kidney failure.

2. Steroids; such as prednisolone, dexamethazone, beclomethazone etc. Prolonged use of steroids can cause stomach ulcer and a condition called Cushing’s syndrome. Steroids help stabilize the joint by slowing down the inflammatory process associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Drugs for the treatment of Arthritis and Rheumatism in Nigeria
Drugs for treating arthritis

3. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs); these drugs slow or stop rheumatoid arthritis or rheumatism by suppressing the immune system. Examples of DMARDS are:
➡️Hydroxychloroquine (now a popular drug again since the advent of COVID19)
➡️Methotrexate
➡️Sulfasalazine
➡️Azathioprine
➡️Lefludomide
Methotrexate is often the first drug prescribed for people newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate is actually an anticancer drugs and it is used for cancer chemotherapy. Please do not take these drugs with a doctor’s prescription.

4. Biologics; biologics fall into four categories: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors; Interleukin (IL) inhibitors; B-cells inhibitors; and T-cells inhibitors. These medications are administered by injection or infusion. Examples include Remicade, Enbrel, and Humira. These drugs are not very popular in Nigeria. They are also very expensive.

5. Muscle relaxants: Because rheumatoid arthritis have been found to be associated muscle spasms especially around the affected joints (this trigger pains), most Rheumatologists now prescribe drugs that will help relax and quieten the muscles. Drugs like methocarbamol, diazepam and baclofen are some muscle relaxants that help with arthritis.

6. Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. JAK inhibitors are still a work in progress. They help slow down the inflammatory process of arthritis.

PS: Losing weight is also a strategy employed in treating all forms of arthritis.

Sources:

MBBS Students

Arthritis -health

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