Antirheumatics include drugs which are used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and those that can modify the course of the disease the drugs that help treat the symptoms such as pain and inflammation are aspirin non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs nsaids and steroids drugs that can slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and help with pain inflammation and stiffness are called disease modifying rheumatoid arthritis drugs dmards. Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs comprise a category of otherwise unrelated drugs defined by their use in rheumatoid arthritis to slow down disease progression the term is often used in contrast to nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs and steroids the term antirheumatic can be used in similar contexts but without making a claim about an effect on the disease course other terms that have historically been used to refer to the same group of drugs are remission inducing . Many antirheumatic drugs such as for example azathioprine imuran and methotrexate rheumatrex are very powerful drugs they are usually prescribed in severe cases when all other treatments have failed thus they may have serious side effects so it is important to be monitored closely by a physician while taking any of these drugs. Disease modifying anti rheumatic drugs dmards act by altering the underlying disease rather than treating symptoms theyre not painkillers but theyll reduce pain swelling and stiffness over a period of weeks or months by slowing down the disease and its effects on the joints there are two types conventional dmards and biological therapies
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