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Treatments

  • Immunosuppressive Medicines

    Doctors use a range of medicines to stop the immune system from attacking healthy tissues, including:

    • Corticosteroids: slow the body's immune response to relieve swelling and pain
    • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): suppress the immune system broadly to prevent swelling
    • Genetically engineered biologics: a newer type of DMARD that targets specific immune functions

    Some of the medicines can be taken orally, but others are given as an injection.

  • Physical and Occupational Therapies

    A physical therapist can help you improve muscle strength and flexibility with specially designed stretches and exercises. Your doctor may also send you to an occupational therapist, who can teach you easier ways of performing everyday tasks and introduce you to assistive devices — such as zipper pulls or buttoning aids — if your finger joints are affected.

  • Vascular Disease Medicines

    Medicines that improve blood circulation can improve blood flow to the skin and organs, preventing tissue damage. They can be used to treat blood vessel thickening or spasms (a sudden tightening that restricts blood flow), or prevent blood clots from forming in vessels. These medicines can also help prevent lung and kidney problems, and treat Raynaud’s phenomenon.