Information for patients

These are copies of talks that have been presented as part of patient education afternoons to provide useful information about arthritis. To open the relevant page click on the icon.


What is arthritis

We have also produced a series of short videos providing a patient’s perspective of early inflammatory arthritis – just click on the links below to view them:

Part one – introduction
Part two – being given a diagnosis and starting treatment
Part three – appointments, on-going treatment and possible side-effects
Part four – a year in to treatment

Disease management

How can physiotherapy help
Occupational therapy in rheumatology
Hand and wrist exercise programme
Role of Podiatry
Managing a flare and patient advice line

Presentations on disease management:

Treating arthritis
Using pain relief effectively in arthritis
Joint protection and fatigue management
Diet and complimentary

Drug information on DMARDs

Rheumatoid arthritis is treated with well-established medications but new treatments are constantly being developed. First line treatment of any arthritis is usually anti-inflammatory tablets but frequently this is not enough to control the disease.

Painkillers such as paracetamol or codeine often helps but this does not have anti-inflammatory action but is useful for pain relief in addition to, or instead of, an anti-inflammatory tablets.

Second-line drugs such as Sulphasalazine and Methotrexate are used to control symptoms and to slow down the progression of the disease. This is important because the longer the disease persists the more the joints get damaged. Once damaged, they heal very poorly, so it is vital to prevent the damage occurring.

Further information on the individual disease modifying drugs we use are available by clicking on patient information and then the icon for drug information. Biologic drugs – are a new group of drugs used for severe arthritis. Analgesics (painkillers) – such as paracetamol or codeine. These help to relieve pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs – relieve pain, stiffness and swelling in joints.

Drug information

The Versus Arthritis website is very useful and provides information about arthritis and has information on the drugs used to treat the condition.

Versus Arthritis also provide patient information for biological drugs:

Certolizumab pegol

Versus Arthritis also provide patient information for disease modifying drugs:

Gold injections (Myocrisin)

Blood Monitoring

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can cause side effects and require regular monitoring. DMARDs are excreted mainly through the liver and kidneys and can have adverse affects on either organ and the blood. Regular blood tests are important both to check for side effects and to monitor your disease activity and if you are responding to treatment. Blood tests can be taken at the hospital pathology department but many GP practices also provide this service – if this would be more convenient for you please check that your surgery offers this service. For patients on DMARDs regular blood tests usually include the following: full blood count (FBC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), liver function tests (LFTs), C-reactive protein (CRP) and sometimes kidney function tests (urea and electrolytes U&E).

For more rheumatology patient information

For more rheumatology patient information, please visit our patient information leaflets page and scroll down to the rheumatology heading.


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