How is rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated?

Updated: Feb 07, 2020
  • Author: Howard R Smith, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Optimal care of patients with RA requires an integrated approach that includes nonpharmacologic therapies and pharmacologic agents such as nonbiologic and biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), analgesics, and corticosteroids. (See Treatment and Medication.)

Early therapy with DMARDs has become the standard of care; it not only can more efficiently retard disease progression than later treatment but also may induce more remissions. (See Treatment.) Many of the newer DMARD therapies, however, are immunosuppressive in nature, leading to a higher risk for infections. (See Complications.)

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