Treatments for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Drugs to Stop Damage: DMARDs

If NSAIDs do not ease your AS symptoms, your doctor may prescribe stronger drugs called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These drugs change your immune system to curb inflammation. They may help slow your disease to delay damage to your back and other joints. They may also ease symptoms like joint pain and swelling. DMARDs don’t work very well for inflammation in the spine.

DMARDs used to treat AS include:

  • Methotrexate
  • Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)

Methotrexate comes in both pills and shots you can give yourself at home. You may take folic acid supplements to help ease side effects like mouth sores or nausea. Methotrexate can affect your liver, so your doctor will test your blood to make sure your liver remains healthy.

Sulfasalazine is available in pill form. You may have side effects like headaches, bloating, nausea, or mouth ulcers. Your doctor will test your blood periodically to watch for side effects.

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