Injections for rheumatoid arthritis treatment in Encinitas CA: More options for medications to ease symptoms
The most common cause of autoimmune arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by joint inflammation caused by the immune system. A healthy immune system typically fights off infections and other harmful invaders. With RA, the immune system “attacks its own,” the joints and other tissues, resulting in progressive damage that can lead to irreversible deformities without appropriate intervention. As a Board-Certified Rheumatologist, Dr. Peter Lloyd is adept at creating treatment plans suited to your specific situation and needs. These plans are often multi-dimensional, including both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches, which are monitored closely and adjusted as needed. Injections for rheumatoid arthritis in Encinitas CA may be combined with physical therapy, supplements, and other lifestyle interventions to preserve healthy function and to prevent lasting damage.
An overview of RA treatment
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis; the strategy has long been to “treat the target.” There have been some promising shifts in the approach toward managing this chronic condition in recent years. These areas of promise include the early use of disease-modifying drugs (DMARDs). New classes of medications have greatly improved outcomes for patients suffering from RA. Today, with the expertise of Dr. Lloyd and the team at Seaside Rheumatology and Wellness Center, joint damage and disease activity is minimized, while function and quality of life are enhanced.
Dr. Lloyd may recommend the safe and accurate injection of drugs such as methotrexate and leflunomide. These drugs can slow the progression of RA, saving joints and tissues from untreatable damage. Furthermore, since damage to cartilage and bone erosions frequently occur in the first two years after RA diagnosis, specialists like Dr. Lloyd generally recommend introducing DMARDs early into the course of the disease. A newer class of DMARDs includes biologic response modifiers, such as adalimumab (Humira) and etanercept (Enbrel). Biologics target parts of the immune system that trigger inflammation and cause damage to the joints and tissues; however, these types of drugs are associated with an increased risk of infections and other side effects. Dr. Lloyd will discuss the pros and cons with you during your appointment at the Encinitas CA office.
Biologic agents may be more effective when paired with nonbiologic DMARDs. Also, therapy can further be augmented with other types of medications. Dr. Lloyd monitors the progress of your symptoms to determine the best combination of treatments.
Prednisone, methylprednisolone, and other corticosteroids have both anti-inflammatory and immune-regulatory properties. They may be given by mouth in pill form, intravenously, or injected intramuscularly into the joints. They’re often useful in the early stages of the disease as a temporary adjunct, while waiting for DMARDs to take effect. Dr. Lloyd may also recommend corticosteroids if severe symptoms haven’t subsided with either the use of NSAIDs or DMARDs. Dosing is tapered, starting with a higher dose that is gradually lowered over several weeks. Again, Dr. Lloyd will discuss what to expect when taking corticosteroids with you.
The process itself is straightforward. After the joint is prepared and an informed consent is signed, Dr. Lloyd prepares your injection and cleans the area to be targeted. Topical numbing may be applied for comfort, and our specialist uses ultrasound to help to precisely guide the medication into proper position. In some cases, fluid is removed before the medication is administered.
To find out more about your many options for treatment, schedule an appointment at Seaside Rheumatology and Wellness Center. Call 760-509-2429.Back to Rheumatoid Arthritis Page