Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis cause pain, swelling, fatigue and other symptoms.
These symptoms make it difficult for patients to stay active and perform normal daily activities. Fortunately, there are specialty medications developed in recent years that can help.
Our clinical staff has the experience and expertise to help you gain access to the latest, most effective drugs and support you with high-touch, personalized care and valuable patient services.
LEARN ABOUT RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic form of arthritis, an autoimmune disease.
There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases, of which RA is the most common. It causes swelling and pain in small joints, such as those in the wrists, hands, and feet. Over time, RA may cause irreversible damage to the joint. To date, the cause of RA remains unknown.
As is the case with other autoimmune diseases, diagnosing RA can be challenging. Usually, the patient needs to show symptoms for more than three months, because some viral infections can present similar symptoms that get mistaken for RA. A combination of results from different tests, which may include blood tests, x-rays, and ultrasound images is used to diagnose RA.
Some symptoms of RA include:
- Joint stiffness for a long time in the morning
- Loss of energy & appetite
- Low fevers
- Dry eyes & mouth
- Firm lumps that grow beneath the skin (rheumatoid nodules)
Rheumatoid Arthritis Facts
- It affects more than 1.3 million Americans.
- About 75% of RA patients are women.
- Low-impact exercise helps release pressure in the joints, thus relieving pain and swelling.
- RA usually begins between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can happen at any age.
While decades ago RA used to be a disabling condition, current treatments make it possible to stop or slow the progression of joint damage. With the right medication, patients get such relief that they can function in nearly normal levels. However, there is no cure.
Research about RA’s cause, cure, and treatment is still ongoing. Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals stays in touch with researchers to ensure our patients have access to the most advanced medication and therapies available.
Furthermore, we work in collaboration with your rheumatologist to manage your treatment; and communicate with your insurance company to help you get authorizations and cover the costs of treatment. Our staff will also help you get financial aid if you qualify.
LEARN ABOUT CROHN'S DISEASE
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. As so, it belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
Often confused with ulcerative colitis (another type of IBD), Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, whereas colitis is limited only to the colon. None are to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), another disease on itself which affects muscle contractions of the colon and doesn’t cause inflammation.
Researchers don’t fully understand what causes Crohn’s disease. However, recent studies suggest it may be hereditary. Also that environmental factors play a role in its development.
A patient with this condition might experience different symptoms than other patients.
Common symptoms include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Abdominal cramps and pains
- Sensation of incomplete evacuation
- Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)
Additionally, the following signs may also be indicative of Crohn’s disease:
- Loss of appetite and loss of weight
- Low energy and fatigue
- Delayed growth and development (the latter among young children)
There is no specific test to diagnose Crohn’s disease. Physicians diagnose Crohn’s by ruling out other conditions. However, the path that leads to diagnosis includes a series of blood tests and procedures such as a colonoscopy, endoscopy, CT scan (computerized tomography), and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), among others.
Crohn’s disease is categorized into five types, according to the symptoms and the location of the inflammation:
- Ileocolitis (most common)
- Crohn’s (granulomatous) colitis
Facts About Crohn’s Disease
- Men and women are equally likely to be affected
- It’s more prevalent among people between the ages of 15 and 35
- 5% to 20% of Crohn’s patients have a first-degree relative (parents, child, or sibling) with an IBD disease
- More common in developed countries, urban areas, and northern climates
Because there are many approaches to dealing with Crohn’s disease, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. It depends on how the disease behaves in each patient. However, it may include anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, antibiotics, supplementary vitamins and minerals, dietary adjustments, and surgery. In fact, about 70% of Crohn’s require surgery at some point.
At Special Care Pharmacy, we understand how confusing and worrisome it can be to be diagnosed and live with Crohn’s disease. This is why our team of healthcare professionals are here for you, to help take care of your needs and concerns.
LEARN ABOUT PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic and progressive disease that causes inflammation of the joints.
Patients report feeling stiffness, swelling, and pain around the joints. Mostly, it affects people with psoriasis—a skin disease related to the immune system.
Time is of the essence when it comes to identifying the symptoms, diagnosing and treating psoriatic arthritis. Research has shown that, if treatment is delayed, it can lead to permanent joint damage in as little as six months.
However, getting diagnosed can be challenging because symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are very similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and reactive arthritis.
Some symptoms most commonly associated with psoriatic arthritis include:
- Swollen fingers and toes
- Foot pain
- Lower back pain
Therefore, it is critical to communicate any swollen or pain to your primary care doctor, or dermatologist. These are often the first specialists to diagnose psoriatic arthritis, but it should be a rheumatologist who treats it because the latter specializes in arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is diagnosed by an elimination process. There is no specific test to diagnose the disease, but rather a combination of your medical history, your history with psoriasis, physical examination, X-rays, and magnetic resonance images (MRIs).
Facts About Psoriatic Arthritis
- It can develop at any time, but it appears most commonly between the ages of 30 and 50.
- Genes, the immune system, and environmental factors seem to play a role in the onset of the disease.
- Like psoriasis, its severity ranges from mild to severe.
Treatment ranges from oral to injected or infused medication. There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, the focus of treatment is controlling the symptoms and preventing damage to the joints. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis can be a disabling disease.
At Special Care Pharmacy, we specialize in the treatment of chronic diseases such as psoriatic arthritis. Let us support you and be part of your multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.
LEARN ABOUT ULCERATIVE COLITIS
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), very similar to Crohn’s disease because both cause chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
Both are chronic diseases. However, in ulcerative colitis, the inflammation is limited to the colon only and it’s characterized by pus- and mucus-producing ulcers (sores) in the inner lining of the digestive tract. The combination of inflammation and ulceration causes abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.
None of these conditions should be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a disorder that affects the muscle contractions of the colon. IBS is not characterized by intestinal inflammation.
Symptoms tend to be mild and are usually developed over time, not suddenly. Also, because they tend to come and go, it’s very difficult to evaluate whether a particular treatment has been effective or not.
Some of the symptoms ulcerative colitis patients experience include:
- Looser and more urgent bowel movements
- Inability to defecate despite urgency
- Persistent diarrhea, often with blood or pus
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Rectal pain and bleeding (small amounts of blood in the stool)
- Weight loss
- In children, failure to grow or develop adequately
As is the case with many chronic illnesses, investigators are not certain about what causes this disease. It could be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Another possible cause often cited is an immune system malfunction, given that the body attacks its own body cells when it mistakes them for an invading virus or bacteria.
Facts About Ulcerative Colitis
- Men and women are equally likely to be affected.
- However, older men are more likely to be diagnosed than older women.
- Most people are diagnosed in their mid-30s, although it can occur at any age.
- While it tends to run in families (close to 20% of ulcerative colitis patients have a close relative with the disease), researchers have not established a clear pattern of inheritance.
- It’s more common among white people of European origin and people of Jewish heritage.
While there is no cure for ulcerative colitis, a combination of treatment approaches can help patients control the disease and live a nearly regular life. Because it is thought to be caused by a malfunction in the immune system, the main goal of therapy is to regulate the patient’s immune system.
Ulcerative colitis treatment usually involves drug therapy—such as anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressants— surgery, dietary adjustments, and stress management. Periodic cancer screening is recommended because ulcerative colitis increases the risk of developing colon cancer.
Our team of healthcare professionals is specialized in the treatment of chronic diseases such as ulcerative colitis. Let us take care of you and help you access the best course of treatment possible.
LEARN ABOUT PSORIASIS
Psoriatic disease, or psoriasis, is an immune disease of the skin.
Immune conditions are caused or triggered by an abnormal immune response. Skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of psoriasis lesions.
Psoriasis looks and feels a lot like a rash—red, raised, scaly and itchy patches—that doesn’t go away with over-the-counter medication.
There are no special blood tests or tools to diagnose psoriasis. If you suspect you might have psoriasis, consult with your physician.
Facts About Psoriatic Disease
- It can appear anywhere on the body, but it’s common on the elbows, knees, and scalp.
- Psoriasis is associated with diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
- Men and women develop psoriasis at equal rates.
- It often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can develop at any age. A small percentage of people with psoriasis (10% to 15%) get it before age 10.
- About one-third of people with psoriasis have a family member with the disease.
- There are five types of psoriasis
- No one can predict who will get psoriasis.
- Psoriasis is not contagious.
- About 30% of psoriasis patients can develop psoriatic arthritis.
Researchers have identified triggers that start or worsen psoriasis. Some of them include:
- Infections (strep throat or skin infections)
- Skin injury (cuts, scrapes, bug bites)
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Certain medications
Psoriasis can be mild, moderate or severe. Treatment is based on the severity of the psoriasis and the location of the lesions. The main goals of treatment are to stop skin cells from growing rapidly and to alleviate itchiness and pain.
Topical or skin treatments are prescribed when psoriasis is mild and limited to a specific part of the body. If the condition is moderate, severe or spread throughout the body, your physician may prescribe other medications or a combination of treatments.
At Special Care Pharmacy, we understand how uncomfortable and painful psoriasis can be. Our team of healthcare professionals is available to help answer your questions, as well as to get the treatment, support, and comfort you need to live a good life.
To get the most out of these medications, you need a coordinated care team that can streamline a potentially complicated process.
We work with your doctor on your treatment plan, and with your insurance coverage provider in order to verify your coverage benefits and to coordinate prior authorizations. We also collaborate with pharmaceutical companies on their latest research and patient assistance programs that provide financial aid for patients who qualify.