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Understanding Psoriatic Arthritis

Did you know approximately 329,000 adults in the U.S. have psoriatic arthritis? Although psoriatic arthritis may be unpredictable, recognizing its symptoms can help you better understand your condition. To help you have a more informed conversation about treatment with your doctor, here are a few quick facts about psoriatic arthritis.

Up to 30% of patients with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis
Dactylitis is reported in 40% to 50% of patients with psoriatic arthritis
Enthesitis is seen in 30% to 50% of patients with psoriatic arthritis

What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is an immune-mediated disease. An immune-mediated disease is a chronic inflammatory condition caused by an abnormal response of the body’s immune system. It occurs in different parts of the body and may lead to multiple symptoms, such as joint inflammation and damage, and skin lesions, which can develop together or separately over time.

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Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Types

There are a number of ways to treat active psoriatic arthritis. And while there’s no cure for it, medication may help reduce the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.

Here are examples of some treatment types for active psoriatic arthritis.


Corticosteroids, also known as steroids, are used on a short-term basis to help with inflammation.

How they are prescribed: Pill or an injection into a muscle or directly into an affected joint


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to help with joint pain and inflammation.

How they are prescribed: Pill


Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) work to reduce the body's overactive immune and/or inflammatory processes that cause psoriatic arthritis symptoms such as joint pain and swelling.

The DMARD family can be classified as the following:

Nonbiologic DMARDs

Traditional nonbiologic DMARDs, like methotrexate, are often prescribed at the time of diagnosis. Oral synthetic small molecules are another class of nonbiologic DMARDs.

One of the options available includes the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. JAK inhibitors work by blocking JAK enzymes located within cells.

How they are prescribed: Injection or pill

XELJANZ is a JAK inhibitor and available as an oral pill.

Biologic DMARDs

Biologic DMARDs are proteins manufactured using recombinant DNA technology . Types of biologic DMARDs include tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers and non-TNF blockers.

How they are prescribed: Injection or infusion


While surgery is not for everyone, it may be an option for people with severe joint damage that limits joint function.
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Different Factors, Different Treatment Plans

A disease management plan should combine medications with other approaches. Because psoriatic arthritis is a progressive disease, different treatment options may be appropriate at different stages. It is important to start treatment soon after diagnosis.

When talking with your healthcare provider about treatment options, it’s important to remember that psoriatic arthritis affects everyone differently and the choice of therapy depends on a number of factors, including the severity of your condition. Additionally, some medicines are approved only after trying other medications.

Before starting treatment, discuss the benefits and risks of each type of therapy with your doctor. Certain screening tests, including blood tests for past exposure to certain infections, may be needed before starting some of these medications.

Before starting treatment, tell your doctor about your medical history. Tell your doctor if you have had an infection, such as TB, Hepatitis B or C, liver and kidney problems, or if you have a history of blood clots.

Talking To Your Doctor

If your current treatment is not working well enough to manage your psoriatic arthritis symptoms, it's important to speak up. Taking note of how your disease affects your daily activities can help you prepare for a productive conversation with your doctor. Use our symptom tracker to get started.

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