A list of the specialists that you may be asked to see:
A rheumatologist (a doctor specialising in arthritis) often manages
the patients overall treatment and treats joint disease. The following
specialists treat other symptoms that affect different body systems:
Rheumatologist—treats joints and inflammation.
Gynaecologist—treats genital sores in women.
Urologist—treats genital sores in men.
Dermatologist—treats genital sores in men, and skin
and mucous membrane problems.
Ophthalmologist—treats eye inflammation.
Gastroenterologist—treats digestive tract symptoms.
Neurologist—treats central nervous system symptoms.
Paediatrician—treats child patients.
How Is Behçet's Disease Treated?
Although there is no cure for Behçet's disease, people can
usually control their symptoms with medications, rest, exercise
and possibly a change in lifestyle. Treatment goals are to reduce
discomfort and prevent serious complications such as disability
from arthritis or blindness. The type of medicine and the length
of treatment depend on the person's symptoms and their severity.
It is likely that a combination of treatments will be needed to
relieve specific symptoms. Patients should tell each of their doctors
about all of the medicines they are taking so that the doctors can
Topical medicine is applied directly on the sores to relieve pain
and discomfort. For example, doctors prescribe rinses to treat mouth
sores. Creams are used to treat skin and genital sores. The medicine
usually contains corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation, or
an anaesthetic, which relieves pain.
Doctors also prescribe medicines taken by mouth to reduce inflammation
throughout the body, suppress the overactive immune system, and
relieve symptoms. Doctors may prescribe one or more of the medicines
described below to treat the various symptoms of Behçet’s
Corticosteroids—Prednisone is a corticosteroid prescribed
to reduce pain and swelling throughout the body in people with severe
joint pain and inflammation, skin sores, eye disease, or central
nervous system symptoms. Patients must carefully follow the doctor’s
instructions about when to take prednisone and how much to take.
It is also important not to stop taking the medicine suddenly because
it alters the bodies production of the natural corticosteroid hormones.
Long-term use of prednisone can have side effects such as osteoporosis,
weight gain, delayed wound healing, persistent heartburn, and elevated
blood pressure. However, these side effects are rare when prednisone
is taken at low doses for a short time. It is important that patients
see their doctor regularly to monitor possible side effects.
Immunosuppressive drugs—Medicines (including corticosteriods)
that help control an overactive immune system, such as is the case
in people with Behçet’s disease, reduce inflammation
throughout the body and can lessen the number of flares. Doctors
may use immunosuppressive drugs when a person has eye disease or
central nervous system involvement. These medicines are very strong
and can have serious side effects. Patients must see their doctor
regularly for blood tests to detect and monitor side effects.
Depending on the person’s specific symptoms, doctors may use
one or more of the following immunosuppressive drugs:
Azathioprine—Most commonly prescribed for people with
organ transplants because it suppresses the immune system, azathioprine
is now used to treat uveitis and central nervous system involvement
in Behçet’s disease. This medicine can upset the stomach
and may reduce the production of new blood cells by the bone marrow.
Chlorambucil—Doctors use chlorambucil to treat uveitis
and meningoencephalitis. People taking chlorambucil must see their
doctor frequently because it can have serious side effects, such
as permanent sterility and cancers of the blood. Patients need regular
blood tests to monitor blood counts of white cells and platelets.
Cyclosporine—Like azathioprine, doctors prescribe this
medicine for people with organ transplants. When used by patients
with Behçet’s disease, cyclosporine reduces uveitis
and central nervous system involvement. To reduce the risk of side
effects, such as kidney and liver disease, the doctor can adjust
the dose. Patients must tell their doctor if they take any other
medicines, because some affect the way the body uses cyclosporine.
Colchicine—Commonly used to treat gout, which is a form
of arthritis, colchicine reduces inflammation throughout the body.
The medicine is sometimes used to treat eye inflammation and skin
symptoms in patients with Behçet’s disease. Common
side effects of colchicine include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
The doctor can decrease the dose to relieve these side effects.
Other medications can be used If these medicines do not reduce symptoms,
doctors may use other drugs such as cyclophosphamide and methotrexate.
Cyclophosphamide is similar to chlorambucil. Methotrexate, which
is also used to treat various kinds of cancer as well as rheumatoid
arthritis, can relieve Behçet's symptoms because it suppresses
the immune system and reduces inflammation throughout the body.
Make sure you are aware of when and how to take your medication
and any known side effects. The drugs name must appear clearly on
the medications label, but may not mean much to you.
A list of known medications used
for Behcet's disease can be found here.
Rest and Exercise
Although rest is important during flares, doctors usually recommend
moderate exercise, such as swimming or walking, when the symptoms
have improved or disappeared. Exercise can help people with Behçet's
disease keep their joints strong and flexible.
If you need more advice about your medication you can ask your pharmacist.
For the doctor to get a better understanding of how the disease
is effecting you personally, he/she may ask you to attend when you
are having a flare or your symptoms are at there worse. Indeed you
may want to show him/her at your worse so that a suitable course
of treatment can be planned.
It may also be the case that you will need to be monitored for any
side effects depending on what course of treatment and medication
you are currently receiving.
The treatment may need an initial period of working its way into
your system, so you may have to be patient with the course of treatment
There are a number of treatments for Behcet's disease at the moment.
So if one course of treatment does not work for you, there may very
well be an alternative.
Prescriptions in the UK. If you are on certain types
of social security benefits you may be entitled to free prescriptions,
if not you can by prepayment certificates, to help reduce the costs
involved in purchasing your medication.
Looking for Pharmaceutical Medication Assistance in the USA? Check
out the following site http://www.medicare.gov/Prescription/Home.asp
If you need a lot of prescriptions, but are not entitled to them
free, you can reduce the cost by buying a prepayment certificate
for four months or a year. It saves you money if you need more than
five prescription items in four months or 14 items in a year. You
apply for a certificate on form FP95 (EC95 in Scotland) which you
can get at the benefits agency, post office or chemist. A refund
can be given if you buy a prepayment certificate and then, within
a month, qualify for free prescriptions.
known medication list
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