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Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Aug;24(4):443-55. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2009.11.009.

Pharmacotherapy: concepts of pathogenesis and emerging treatments. Optimising the strategy of care in early rheumatoid arthritis.

Author information

1
Division of Immunology, Infection and Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. james.dale@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Abstract

In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), early use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), intensive follow-up and 'treating to target' to achieve low disease activity produce significant improvements in measures of disease activity, functional impairment and retard erosive radiographic progression. Step-up, parallel and step-down regimens are all significantly more effective than sequential monotherapy; although the most effective regimen has not been established. Minimising the period of exposure to synovitis, by including a rapidly acting agent (e.g., corticosteroids or tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) inhibitor), may slow radiographic progression further. Biologic therapies, especially TNFalpha inhibitors, are effective in early RA; however, their exact role is unclear. Current measures may overestimate the number of patients in clinical remission; therefore, musculoskeletal ultrasound and/or novel biomarkers may also have a role. Pre-clinical immunological markers could possibly be used to trigger pre-emptive treatment in asymptomatic, 'at risk' individuals. Potential treatment developments include combining biologic agents or targeting alternative immunological pathways.

PMID:
20732643
DOI:
10.1016/j.berh.2009.11.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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