What is the role of corticosteroids in the treatment of reactive arthritis (ReA)?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Carlos J Lozada, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Corticosteroids may be given either via intra-articular injection or as systemic therapy. For ocular manifestations of ReA, they may also be given topically.

Joint injections can produce long-lasting symptomatic improvement and help avoid the use of systemic therapy. Sacroiliac joints can be injected, usually under fluoroscopic guidance. [100]

Systemic corticosteroids may be particularly useful in patients who do not respond well to NSAIDs or who experience adverse effects related to the use of NSAIDs. The starting dose is guided by a patient’s symptoms and objective evidence of inflammation. Prednisone can be used initially at a dosage of 0.5-1 mg/kg/day, tapered according to response.

Topical corticosteroids and mydriatics should be used early and aggressively to reduce tissue damage. Prolonged topical treatment is necessary for several weeks after the inflammation has cleared; early withdrawal of topical corticosteroids frequently results in the return of inflammatory changes. Keratolytics or topical corticosteroids may improve cutaneous lesions. Topical corticosteroids may be useful for iridocyclitis.

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