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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2011 Sep-Oct;29(5 Suppl 68):S59-62. Epub 2011 Oct 21.

Glucocorticoids in rheumatoid arthritis: lessons from the Utrecht study.

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Department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The lessons from the Utrecht study on glucocorticoid therapy in early rheumatoid arthritis and of the spin-off and follow-up studies are reviewed. The data indicate that: glucocorticoids are DMARDs, the joint-sparing effect is predominantly on erosions, glucocorticoids do not influence the percentage of patients developing erosive disease, and the gain in joint-sparing effect persists after the stop of treatment. Further lessons are that the size of the joint-sparing effect and the (presumed) size of the symptomatic effect of glucocorticoids depend on co-therapies. Additional DMARDs must be added to glucocorticoids for maximum effect on radiographic progression. Finally, low-dose glucocorticoids are safer than often thought.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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