There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The goals of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis are to slow down the disease, decrease pain and inflammation, maintain joint function, and minimize joint damage and complications. Treatment will vary from patient to patient and may be adjusted over time.
In addition to getting appropriate rest and exercise and avoiding stress on the affected joints, people with RA may take some medications. These can include analgesics (pain relievers), anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation, corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to help slow the course of the disease, and biologic response modifiers to help reduce inflammation and damage to the joints.
Trreatment often involves taking more than one drug and should be started as soon as possible to minimize permanent joint damage. Patients should work with their rheumatologist and their primary care physician to coordinate their care over time and to take advantage of new treatments as they become available.