The Consumer’s Guide to JAK Inhibitors for Psoriatic Arthritis

Everything you need to know about the newest FDA-approved treatment for psoriatic arthritis.
Medically Reviewed

T here are many different treatment options for psoriatic arthritis, and since everyone is unique, some will work better for you than others.

The newest class of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat psoriatic arthritis are Janus kinase inhibitors, or JAK inhibitors. If you want to know more about how JAK inhibitors work and if they might be a good treatment for your needs, we’re here to help you learn more.

“We're beginning to learn more and more about psoriatic arthritis and about what treatments work for it,” says Arthur Mandelin, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and rheumatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

And JAK inhibitors provide the most targeted approach to treating psoriatic arthritis yet.

7 Essential Facts About JAK Inhibitors for Psoriatic Arthritis

Start getting familiar with the newest treatment for psoriatic arthritis and what it might mean for you.

Is It Time to Try a JAK Inhibitor?

JAK inhibitors are typically prescribed to people who have moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis only when other disease-modifying treatments haven’t worked. “Right now, JAK inhibitors cannot be used as a first-line treatment,” says Bose.

The types of psoriatic arthritis treatment options include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help alleviate joint pain and swelling
  • DMARDs — such as methotrexate, a common first-line treatment — to slow disease progression
  • Biologics, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors or interleukin (IL)-17 inhibitors, to target and block specific inflammatory response pathways in the body
  • JAK inhibitors, which are the most targeted disease-modifying therapy
  • Immunosuppressants to lessen an overactive immune response
  • Steroids to reduce inflammation and ease symptoms, especially during a flare
  • Enzyme inhibitors to slow down the inflammatory response

Because advanced psoriatic arthritis is more likely to cause joint damage, it’s important to get the condition under control. In many cases, if you haven’t responded to other disease-modifying psoriatic arthritis drugs, a JAK inhibitor may be worth a try.

Common Questions About JAK Inhibitors for Psoriatic Arthritis

Get the scoop: Here’s what other people are asking their doctors about JAK inhibitors.

Next Steps: Making Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Decisions

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Congratulations!

You’ve learned a lot about JAK inhibitors for psoriatic arthritis. So what’s next?

Take some time to absorb all of this info and decide if JAK inhibitors are something you might want to consider.

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Self-Reflection

Before your next appointment, think about your current treatment plan and how well it’s controlling your psoriatic arthritis.

  1. Are you satisfied with your current treatment?
  2. Has it improved your psoriatic arthritis symptoms as well as you had hoped??
  3. Are you downplaying your symptoms to your doctor??
  4. How frequently do you cancel plans or activities because of psoriatic arthritis?
  5. Are you able to follow your treatment regimen as prescribed?
  6. Have you tried other treatments to see if they help you manage your psoriatic arthritis?
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Doctor Discussion

If you’re having trouble finding a psoriatic arthritis treatment plan that works for you, you might want to talk to your doctor about JAK inhibitors. Here are a few conversation starters that you can ask at your next appointment.

  1. Do you think it’s possible for me to gain better control of my psoriatic arthritis?
  2. What else can I do to better manage my psoriatic arthritis?
  3. Am I a good candidate for a JAK inhibitor?
  4. If so, what type of results should I expect?
  5. How often should I monitor the progress of my treatment??