Psoriatic Arthritis

What is psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis that can cause swelling, stiffness and pain in and around the joints, and can cause nail changes and overall fatigue. 

Who is at risk for psoriatic arthritis? 

Up to 30% of people with psoriasis develop this inflammatory form of arthritis.

How is psoriatic arthritis diagnosed? 

There is no definitive test for psoriatic arthritis, so the diagnosis is essentially made through your healthcare provider’s observations and a process of elimination. You will need to discuss your medical history and the history of your psoriatic disease with your doctor, and you may be asked to have X-rays or an MRI. 

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to those of three other arthritic diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, gout and reactive arthritis; however, each condition has particular characteristics. It is important to determine your type of arthritic condition so you and your healthcare provider may work together to choose the treatment option that works best to manage your symptoms and slow the course of your disease.  

How is psoriatic arthritis treated?

There are a number of treatments for psoriatic arthritis. Discuss your options with your doctor and decide which therapy is right for you. Treatments include:

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may relieve severe symptoms and slow or stop joint and tissue damage and the progression of psoriatic arthritis. 

Biologic therapy is a protein-based drug derived from living cells cultured in a laboratory. These drugs are given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion, and can be given orally. Rather than impacting the entire immune system, like traditional systemic drugs, biologics are more targeted. Biologics used to treat psoriatic disease block the action of a specific type of immune cell called a T cell, or block proteins in the immune system, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 17-A, or interleukins 12 and 23. These cells and proteins all play a major role in developing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.