Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are the drugs that your rheumatologist will prescribe for your arthritis diagnosis. They are rarely used in people with spondyloarthritis although sometimes they can be useful for controlling the peripheral pain that these people suffer from (chest pain, ankle pain or pain underneath the feet, etc.)

As their name implies, they slow down or even stop the progression of arthritis. They are prescribed to decrease the inflammation that causes arthritis in your joints and thus prevent their destruction. You must know that a joint injured by arthritis cannot be rebuilt. This can lead to permanent disability, deformity and pain. These phenomena are irreversible. You must also keep in mind that your illness can not be completely cured for the moment and that using drugs is the best way to decrease the levels of disease activity. Your specialist may choose to combine some of these medications to optimize their action. Nowadays, with these treatments, people with arthritis can have an active and rewarding life.


Here is the list of DMARDs currently available. By clicking on the buttons next to the name of the drug, you will be able to consult the descriptive sheets issued by the Arthritis Society (AS) and by Rheuminfo (RI).

Rheuminfo has created a video that explains how to inject Methotrexate. If your syringes are pre-filled, you can choose to only watch the part that’s relevant to you, such as the preparation of your work surface, the injection or the safe disposal of soiled material. It’s easy to understand and can be watched here.  Our web capsules also feature a new tab with videos that can help you properly inject your subcutaneous medication.  You can watch them here.


New drugs have been approved by Health Canada. They are a little different but the goal of the treatment remains the same: making arthritis the less active possible. These are small molecules with targeted action.