About Psoriatic Arthritis
Once diagnosed, psoriatic arthritis is a lifelong disease of the immune system. It is associated with pain, stiffness, or swelling in joints and generally with raised red patches on the skin, often with a silvery scale (psoriatic skin lesions). About 1 million Americans have psoriatic arthritis. The disease may strike at any time, but most often develops between the ages of 30 and 55. If left untreated, people with psoriatic arthritis are at risk of permanent joint damage.
Psoriatic arthritis is a disease of the immune system
In people with psoriatic arthritis, certain immune cells are activated and produce too
much of a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). This protein causes inflammation in the skin, which can cause skin cells to grow too quickly. The skin cells build up and form raised, red patches, often with silvery scales, known as psoriatic lesions. This protein also causes inflammation in the joints, which can create pain and progressive joint damage.
How Damage to Your Joints May Occur
If untreated, people with psoriatic arthritis are at risk of permanent joint damage.
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, or swelling in joints. Raised, red patches, often with a silvery scale (psoriatic skin lesions) can appear on the skin.
Psoriatic arthritis may affect the spine, hands, shoulders, elbows, feet, knees, or ankles.
- Swelling of an entire finger or toe, which has been said to cause the fingers or toes to look like sausages
- General joint pain and stiffness
- Swelling in the joints
- Back pain and stiffness (lower back, neck, and upper back)
- Raised, red patches on the skin, often with a silvery scale (known as psoriatic skin lesions)
- Changes in the nails: pitting is seen in the fingernails and toenails of 90% of psoriatic arthritis patients
Psoriatic arthritis symptoms can change in severity and vary from person to person. Psoriatic arthritis can affect many joints in the body and can affect different areas of the body in the same person over time. In fact, up to 30% of patients with psoriasis may actually have psoriatic arthritis. The skin symptoms of psoriatic arthritis often appear before joint symptoms. In some cases, skin symptoms may be present for up to 10 years or more before joint symptoms like pain and swelling appear. In approximately 70% of psoriatic arthritis patients, skin symptoms appear before joint symptoms. About 15% of patients experience joint symptoms before skin symptoms, and about 15% of patients experience both at the same time. Psoriatic arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage, but some treatments can help stop joint damage.
How psoriatic arthritis can be treated
The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may be treated with a number of different medicines. ENBREL is a prescription medicine that is self-injected. ENBREL is a medicine called a biologic, which treats both skin and joint symptoms. ENBREL works on the immune system to help slow the growth of excess skin cells and to reduce joint pain and inflammation. Learn how ENBREL works in two different psoriatic conditions, plaque psoriasis (in those who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy) and psoriatic arthritis. Because ENBREL works on your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections and may raise other safety concerns. If you have any sign of an infection including a fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms or have any open sores on your body, call your doctor.
Please see Prescribing Information, Important Safety Information, and Medication Guide for complete details about ENBREL.