...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!
Reiters Syndrome Treatments:
Although there is no cure for Reiter's syndrome, treatments that effectively relieve the symptoms are available. Many symptoms may even disappear for long periods of time. The doctor is likely to use one or more of the following treatments:
Bed rest ~ Short periods of bed rest are sometimes effective in reducing the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Lying down can reduce the pressure of the body's weight on a painful joint and provide relief for some patients.
Exercise ~ Even before symptoms disappear, some strengthening and gentle range-of-motion exercises will maintain or improve joint function. Strengthening exercises build up the muscles around the joint to better support it. Isometric tightening of muscles without moving the joints can be used even in active, painful disease. Range-of-motion exercises improve movement and flexibility and reduce stiffness in the affected joint. Before beginning an exercise program, patients should talk to the doctor, who can recommend appropriate exercises.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ~ This type of medicine effectively reduces joint inflammation and is commonly used to treat patients with Reiter's syndrome. Some NSAID's, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are available without a prescription. Many others require a doctor's prescription.
Corticosteroid injections ~ For people with severe joint inflammation, injections of corticosteroids directly into the affected joint may effectively reduce inflammation. Doctors typically use this treatment only after trying to control arthritis with NSAID's. Corticosteroid injections are most commonly used for severe knee or ankle inflammation.
Topical corticosteroids ~ This type of medicine can be put directly on the skin lesions associated with Reiter's syndrome. Topical corticosteroids reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Antibiotics ~ Antibiotics may be prescribed in Reiters syndrome treatment to eliminate the bacterial infection that triggered Reiter's syndrome. The specific antibiotic prescribed depends on the type of bacterial infection that has to be treated. Patients must carefully follow the doctor's instructions about how much medicine to take and for how long; if the medicine is not taken correctly, the infection may not go away. Often, an antibiotic is taken once or twice a day for 7 to 10 days or longer. Some doctors may recommend that a person with Reiter's syndrome take antibiotics for a long period of time (up to 3 months). Current research shows that this practice usually has no effect on the course of the disease and is therefore unnecessary. However, in cases when Chlamydia triggers Reiter's syndrome, prolonged antibiotic treatment is effective in shortening the length of time that a person has symptoms.
Immunosuppressive medicines ~ A small percentage of patients with Reiter's syndrome have severe symptoms that cannot be controlled with the treatments described earlier. For these people, medicine that suppresses the immune system, such as sulfasalazine or methotrexate, may be effective.
Most people with Reiter's syndrome recover fully from the initial flare of symptoms and are able to return to regular activities within 2 to 6 months after the first symptoms appear. Arthritis may last up to 6 months, although the symptoms are usually very mild and do not interfere with daily activities. Only 20 percent of people with Reiter's syndrome will have chronic arthritis, which is usually mild. Some patients experience symptom recurrence. Studies show that about 15 to 50 percent of patients will develop symptoms sometime after the initial flare has disappeared. Back pain and arthritis are the symptoms that most commonly reappear. A small percentage of patients will have deforming arthritis and severe symptoms that are difficult to control with treatment.