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Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2008 Jul;18(7):723-738.

The Development of Novel Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA.



Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, inflammatory disease that affects approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of the adults worldwide and commonly results in joint destruction and significant impairment in the quality of life. RA is considered as an autoimmune disease with unknown etiology. Many pathogenic pathways of RA have been revealed recently, which led to development of various novel therapies.


The current treatments of RA include 4 categories: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucocorticoids, non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic DMARDs. In this review, we will discuss some of the most recent development in antirheumatic therapies.


Using SciFinder Scholar and PubMed as main searching tools, we evaluated various newly developed therapies for RA. Under each drug category, emphases are placed on the mode of action, limitation of the drugs and new drug candidates from the patents search. Those well-established therapies will only be reviewed briefly.


During the past 20 years, most of the development of new therapies is in DMARDs, especially biological DMARDs. With the discovery of new pathways and the application of drug delivery strategies, more growth is anticipated in this research field.

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