What are DMARDs?

DMARD is an abbreviation which is short for Disease Modifying AntiRheumatic Drugs. It is pronounced ‘Dee-Mards’. These are specialised drugs that we use in Rheumatology to treat autoimmune inflammatory conditions affecting the connective tissue including joints of the body: these conditions are also known as ‘Rheumatic’ or ‘Rheumatological’ conditions or diseases.

There are many different DMARDs and on this site there are links to more specific information about each and every one of them.

Common ones that we use in Rheumatology are:


They are complicated names, and hard to remember because they are not every day ordinary words! Your Rheumatologist is quite likely to refer to them by their drug ‘trade’ names, which are a bit easier to recall.

All DMARDs have slightly different actions in the body, but the bottom line is that they all modify the response of the immune system in some way. These drugs are not as strong at suppressing the immune system as chemotherapy drugs do, so they don’t come with the same intense side effects. The DMARDs modify the response of the immune system and thus dampen the autoimmune attack the body is having to itself. This in turn lessens the symptoms of the autoimmune disease, if the body responds to the medication.

These drugs are not cures to the conditions

but they are a great support for the body whilst the imbalance and disease process in the body is ongoing. In addition to your DMARD therapy you may wish to look at other ways that you can also further support your body’s health whilst taking these medications, such as food and exercise.