Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation. The condition most often affects the joints, but it can affect other body systems, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, eyes, and skin. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is the result of wear and tear on the joints, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body attacks the lining of the joints. This results in painful swelling that can ultimately erode one’s bones and deform the joints as well.
Doctors do not know the exact trigger that starts the inflammatory process of rheumatoid arthritis. It is likely that there is a genetic component since individuals with close family members with rheumatoid arthritis are more apt to develop the disease themselves. Infections, viruses, bacteria, and other environmental factors may also pay a role in the development of the disease. The condition is most common in women between the ages of 40 and 60.
In the early stages, rheumatoid arthritis tends to attack the small joints of the hands and feet first. The symptoms often progress to the knees, hips, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. The joints are normally affected symmetrically on each side of the body. The joints may become warm, tender, and swollen with the pain being worse in the morning or after inactivity. The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis thickens the lining of the joint, which can ultimately destroy the bone and cartilage inside the joint. The surrounding tendons and ligaments stretch and weaken, which causes the joint to lose shape and alignment. Other symptoms may include fever, weight loss, and fatigue. Approximately 40 percent of patients have symptoms affecting other body systems, including tissue nodules around pressure points, dry eyes and mouth, cardiovascular problems, and lung disease. It is common for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis to experience episodic flares or remissions where their symptoms temporarily worsen or improve.
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause significant physical disability; however, new medications are vastly improving treatment options. Our pharmacy offers commercial and compounded medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Common treatment options include anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, disease-modifying drugs designed to slow the progression of illness, and biologic agents that target the immune system.
We can make capsules, oral suspensions, creams, gels or lotions of the following:
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