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Reactive Arthritis

Joint inflammation that is a "reaction" to an infection in your body. Besides inflamed joints, reactive arthritis can have two other symptoms: red and inflamed eyes and an inflamed urinary tract. These symptoms may occur alone, together, or not at all.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

About Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis is a form of arthritis, or joint inflammation, that occurs as a "reaction" to an infection elsewhere in the body. Inflammation is a characteristic reaction of tissues to injury or disease and is marked by swelling, redness, heat, and pain. Besides this joint inflammation, reactive arthritis is associated with two other symptoms: redness and inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis) and inflammation of the urinary tract (urethritis). These symptoms may occur alone, together, or not at all.

Reactive arthritis is also known as a seronegative spondyloarthropathy. The seronegative spondyloarthropathies are a group of disorders that can cause inflammation throughout the body, especially in the spine. (Examples of other disorders in this group include psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and the kind of arthritis that sometimes accompanies inflammatory bowel disease.)....Read more about Reactive Arthritis NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Acupunture and electroacupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis

Two studies of low to medium quality were reviewed and provide the best evidence we have today. The studies tested 84 people who had rheumatoid arthritis. The studies compared acupuncture to a placebo (fake therapy) or a steroid injection. Improvement was measured after one treatment or after five treatments given once per week.

Antibiotics for treatment of reactive arthritis: a systematic review and metaanalysis

OBJECTIVE: To examine the efficacy and safety of antibiotic treatments for reactive arthritis (ReA).

Lowering the dose of or stopping anti‐TNF drugs in people with rheumatoid arthritis who are doing well

We conducted a review of studies in which the dose of anti‐TNF drugs (adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab and infliximab) was lowered or treatment was stopped in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who use anti‐TNFs and are doing well. Upon systematically searching for all relevant studies up to September 2013, we found seven studies involving 1203 participants. Study duration ranged from 24 weeks to 18 months.

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Summaries for consumers

How is early rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed?

It can be difficult to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis early on in the disease. In the first few weeks and months, the symptoms are often mild and not always typical. But it's still important to try to diagnose and treat rheumatoid arthritis as soon as possible. It is thought that early treatment helps to stop the progression of the disease.Some of the non-specific symptoms include general weakness, exhaustion, tiredness and weight loss. Other early signs include a slight fever, as well as achy bones and muscles. But people might also experience more typical rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as swollen joints.If you're concerned about non-specific symptoms, you can see a doctor. Tests specifically for rheumatoid arthritis will be recommended at the latest ifthree or more joints have been swollen for at least six weeks,the same joints are swollen on both sides of the body, and/oryour joints feel stiff for at least one hour each morning.

Acupunture and electroacupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis

Two studies of low to medium quality were reviewed and provide the best evidence we have today. The studies tested 84 people who had rheumatoid arthritis. The studies compared acupuncture to a placebo (fake therapy) or a steroid injection. Improvement was measured after one treatment or after five treatments given once per week.

Lowering the dose of or stopping anti‐TNF drugs in people with rheumatoid arthritis who are doing well

We conducted a review of studies in which the dose of anti‐TNF drugs (adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab and infliximab) was lowered or treatment was stopped in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who use anti‐TNFs and are doing well. Upon systematically searching for all relevant studies up to September 2013, we found seven studies involving 1203 participants. Study duration ranged from 24 weeks to 18 months.

Terms to know

Arthritis
A general term for conditions that cause inflammation (swelling) of the joints and surrounding tissues. Some forms of arthritis may occur simultaneously with osteoporosis and Paget's disease.
Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)
A condition in which the conjunctiva (membranes lining the eyelids and covering the white part of the eye) become inflamed or infected. Also called pinkeye.
Inflammation
Redness, swelling, pain, and/or a feeling of heat in an area of the body. This is a protective reaction to injury, disease, or irritation of the tissues.
Joints
In medicine, the place where two or more bones are connected. Examples include the shoulder, elbow, knee, and jaw.
Rheumatologist
Doctors who diagnose and treat diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and tendons, including arthritis and collagen diseases.
Urethritis
Inflammation of the urethra. The most common symptom is painful or difficult urination.

More about Reactive Arthritis

Photo of an adult man

Also called: Seronegative spondyloarthropathy, Reiter's disease, Reiter's syndrome, Reiter disease, Reiter syndrome, Urethrooculoarticular syndrome

See Also: Ankylosing Spondylitis, Psoriatic Arthritis

Other terms to know: See all 6
Arthritis, Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye), Inflammation

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