Description: Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) refer to a group of medications used in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. They work by suppressing the body’s overactive immune system or inflammatory system. The effect can take weeks or months and will not provide immediate relief of symptoms. DMARDs work to decrease pain, reduce inflammation, reduce or prevent joint damage, and to preserve the structure and function of the joints. Other conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus are also treated by DMARDs.
DMARDs Black Box Warning
DMARDs carry a “black box warning,” which is the most serious warning the FDA issues, for serious potential side effects which include:
- severe infections
- liver damage
- gastrointestinal bleeding
- increased blood pressure and cholesterol
- reduced white cell count
Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test
When developing a medication treatment plan, prescribers often rely on trial and error to find a safe and effective dose. This frequently protracted process can result in treatment inefficacy, serious adverse reactions, or patient non-compliance. Side effects are the most common reason patients stop taking their medications. With RA, stopping the medication has serious ramifications, as the symptoms will come back.
With the Rxight® DNA testing program from MD Labs, drug metabolizing genes are analyzed for variation. This means that you can know beforehand if a drug may be safe for you, or if you need different dosing or a different drug entirely. Over 200 commonly prescribed medications, including clinically relevant DMARDs, are analyzed – providing you with a blueprint for life to guide you and your clinicians in developing the safest and most therapeutic medication treatment for you – based on your genes.
Contributors to this Article: Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry