Inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, can cause pain, swelling, fatigue, and other symptoms.
These conditions make it harder for patients to stay active and carry on with their regular daily activities. Fortunately, there are specialty drugs developed in recent years that can help you.
Our clinical staff has the experience and knowledge to help you access the most effective medications and support you with personalized care and valuable services.
LEARN MORE ABOUT RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic form of arthritis, an autoimmune condition.
There are over 100 rheumatic conditions, out of which rheumatoid arthritis is the most common. This condition causes inflammation and pain in the smaller joints, such as your wrists, hands, and feet. With time, rheumatoid arthritis may cause irreparable joint damage. So far, its cause is unknown.
As is the case with other autoimmune diseases, it can be hard to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Usually, symptoms must be present for more than three months in order to reach a diagnosis. This is because certain viral illnesses may present similar symptoms and be wrongfully diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.
In order to diagnose the disease, professionals use a combination of lab and test results, which may include blood tests, X rays, and ultrasound imaging.
Some rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include:
- Stiffness in the joints, in the morning and lasting for a long time
- Loss of energy and appetite
- Mild fever
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Hard lumps growing under the skin (rheumatoid nodules)
Facts about rheumatoid arthritis:
- It affects more than 1.3 million North Americans.
- Approximately 75% of patients are women.
- Low-impact exercise can help decrease pressure in the joints, thus helping manage the inflammation and the pain.
- It usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50 years old, but it may happen at any age.
Although rheumatoid arthritis used to be a disabling condition decades ago, current treatments make it possible to stop, or at least slow down, joint damage. With the correct medication, patients can get relief that will allow them to function at near-normal levels. Nonetheless, there is no cure.
The search continues for cause, cure, and advanced treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Our team of health care professionals stays up to date with the latest advances in the field, in order to ensure our patients will have access to the newest medications and therapies available in the market.
Moreover, we work alongside your rheumatologist to manage your treatment, as well as establish contact with your health plan provider to help you get your pre-authorizations and cover the costs of treatment. Our staff will also help you get any financial assistance available to you, if you qualify.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CROHN’S DISEASE
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
It belongs to the larger group of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
Although it is often confused with ulcerative colitis (another IBD), Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, only affects the colon. None of these IBD should be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a different condition that affects the colon muscles that contract and shows no inflammation.
Researchers do not yet fully understand the cause for Crohn’s disease. However, recent studies suggest it may be hereditary, while there are environmental factors that also affect its development.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Bowel urgency
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Constipation (may lead to bowel obstruction)
The following symptoms may also point to the presence of Crohn’s disease:
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Fatigue and low energy
- Delays in the growth and development of young children
There is no specific test to diagnose Crohn’s disease. The diagnosis is achieved by ruling out other conditions. However, in order to diagnose this condition, your physician will order a series of blood tests and procedures, such as colonoscopy, endoscopy, computerized tomography (CT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), among others.
There are five types or categories of Crohn’s disease. These are classified based on symptoms and localization of the inflammation:
- Crohn’s (granulomatous) colitis
- Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease
Facts about Crohn’s disease:
- The incidence is the same among men and women.
- It is more prevalent among people between the ages of 13 and 30 years old.
- It is more common for Crohn’s disease patients to have a relative with inflammatory bowel disease.
- It is more common in developed countries, urban centers, and northern climates.
Since there are various approaches to treat Crohn’s disease, no treatment will work the same for every patient. It will rather depend on how the disease affects each patient.
However, the treatment may include anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressive drugs, antibiotics, vitamins and minerals, dietary changes, and surgery. In fact, nearly 60% of people with Crohn’s disease will need to undergo surgery at some point in their lives.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic and progressive illness that causes inflammation in the joints.
Those who have psoriatic arthritis will feel stiffness, inflammation, and pain in their joints. It mostly affects people with psoriasis, an immune system-related skin disease.
It is important to identify the symptoms, diagnose, and treat psoriatic arthritis promptly. Studies show that if treatment is not initiated promptly, it may cause permanent damage to the joints in just six months.
It’s worth noting that getting diagnosed can be a challenge. This is because the symptoms for psoriatic arthritis are very similar to those for rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and reactive arthritis.
Some of the symptoms most frequently associated with psoriatic arthritis include:
- Swollen fingers and toes
- Foot pain
- Lower back pain
Therefore, it is essential that you tell your physician or dermatologist about any pain or inflammation you may experience.
There are no specific tests to diagnose the condition. Instead, a combination of your medical history, your history with psoriasis, physical exams, X rays, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used.
Facts about psoriatic arthritis:
- It can occur at any time, but it develops more frequently between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.
- Apparently, the condition can be triggered by a combination of genetics, the immune system, and environmental factors.
- As with psoriasis, its severity is classified from mild to severe.
Treatment may include medications administered by mouth or IV, as well as by infusion. There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, its treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and preventing joint damage. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis may be disabling.
At Special Care Pharmacy Services, we specialize in treating chronic illnesses like psoriatic arthritis. Let us help you and be part of your multidisciplinary team of health care professionals.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ULCERATIVE COLITIS
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that is very similar to Crohn’s disease, since both diseases cause an inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Both are chronic illnesses. However, the inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis only happens in the colon. It is characterized by ulcers that produce pus and mucus in the inner lining of the GI tract. The combination of ulcers and inflammation causes abdominal discomfort and a frequent need to evacuate (empty your colon).
None of these conditions should be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a different condition that affects the colon muscles that contract and shows no GI inflammation.
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis tend to be mild and usually develop over time, not suddenly. Similarly, since the symptoms come and go, it’s very difficult to determine whether a particular course of treatment has been effective or not.
Some of the symptoms patients with ulcerative colitis may experience include:
- Urgent and softer bowel movements
- Inability to evacuate in spite of the sense of urgency to do so
- Persistent diarrhea, frequently accompanied by blood or pus
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Rectal pain and bleeding (small amounts of blood in the stool)
- Weight loss
- In children, inadequate development or growth
As is the case with many other chronic illnesses, researchers are not certain of what causes ulcerative colitis. They believe it may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Another possible and frequently cited cause is a failure of the immune system, where the body starts attacking its own cells after wrongfully identifying them as a virus or harmful bacteria.
Facts about ulcerative colitis
- The incidence is the same among men as it is among women.
- However, it’s more likely to be diagnosed in older men than in older women.
- Most times, it is diagnosed in people who are about 30 to 35 years old, although it can happen at any age.
- Although it tends to be hereditary (nearly 20% of patients has a close relative who has the disease), researchers have not established a definitive heredity pattern.
- It is more frequent in white people, people of European descent, or people of Jewish ancestry.
Although there is no cure for ulcerative colitis, a combination of treatments may help patients control the condition and lead a pretty normal life. Since it is believed to originate from a failure in the immune system, the main goal in treatment is to regulate patients’ immunological functions.
Treatment for ulcerative colitis generally consists of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs, surgery, dietary changes, and stress management. It is recommended that patients regularly undergo cancer screenings, since ulcerative colitis increases the risk for colon cancer.
Our team of health care professionals is specialized in the treatment of chronic illnesses like ulcerative colitis. Let us take care of you.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PSORIASIS
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease.
Immune-related diseases are a result of an abnormal response from the immune system. With psoriasis, the skin cells grow at an abnormal rate, thus creating the tissue build-up that characterizes psoriasis lesions.
There are no specific tools or blood tests to diagnose psoriasis. If you suspect you may have psoriasis, ask your physician.
Facts about psoriasis:
- It may appear in any part of your body but is more frequent in the elbows, knees, and scalp.
- It is associated with conditions like diabetes, depression, and heart disease.
- The incidence of psoriasis is the same among men as it is among women.
- It frequently develops between the ages of 15 and 35 years old, but it may happen at any age. A small percentage of patients with psoriasis (10% to 15%) develop the condition before turning 10 years old.
- Nearly one third of psoriasis patients has a family member with the same condition.
- There are five types of psoriasis:
- Plaque psoriasis
- Guttate (the lesion looks like a drop)
- No one can predict who will get psoriasis.
- Psoriasis is not contagious.
- Almost 30% of patients with psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis.
Researchers have identified triggering factors for psoriasis, which include:
- Infections (pharyngitis or skin infections)
- Skin injuries (cuts, scratches, bug bites)
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Certain medications
Psoriasis may be mild, moderate, or severe. Its treatment is based on the severity of the disease and the location and scope of its lesions. The main goal in the treatment for psoriasis is to stop the accelerated growth of skin cells and to relieve the pain and itchiness.
Topical treatments (on-skin application) are ordered for mild psoriasis cases that are limited to a specific body part. If the condition is moderate, severe, or spread over several body parts, your doctor may prescribe other medications.
At Special Care Pharmacy Services, we are aware ofthat patients living with psoriasis may experience pain and discomfort. . Our team of health care professionals is available to assist you in obtaining the treatment, support, and comfort you need.
To make the most out of these drugs, you need a coordinated care team that will help streamline the process to access your medications.
We collaborate with your physician on your treatment plan and with your payers to verify your insurance coverage benefits and process pre-authorizations. We also work with pharmaceutical companies on their latest research and financial assistance programs for eligible patients.