Non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are the anchor drugs used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but their full effect may take one to three months. DMARDs decrease inflammation, lessen joint damage, and help to maintain joint function.
Methotrexate (MTX) is a first-line DMARD that is often used in conjunction with an anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Methotrexate is usually taken once per week as a pill or as an injection.
Other oral non-biologic DMARDs include hydroxychloroquine, leflunomide, and sulfasalazine.