Therapeutic advances in rheumatoid arthritis

Link to article at PubMed

BMJ. 2024 Jan 17;384:e070856. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2022-070856.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common immune mediated inflammatory diseases. People with rheumatoid arthritis present with pain, swelling, and stiffness that typically affects symmetrically distributed small and large joints. Without effective treatment, significant joint damage, disability, and work loss develop, owing to chronic inflammation of the joint lining (synovium). Over the past 25 years, the management of this condition has been revolutionized, resulting in substantially higher levels of disease remission and better long term outcomes. This improvement reflects a paradigm shift towards early and aggressive pharmacological intervention coupled with a proliferation in treatment choice, in turn related to enhanced pathobiological understanding and the advent of new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis. Following an overview of these developments from a historical perspective, and with a general audience in mind, this review focuses on newer, targeted treatments in an ever evolving landscape. The review highlights ongoing areas of debate and unmet need, including the proportion of patients with persistent, difficult-to-treat disease, despite recent advances. Also discussed are personalized, strategic approaches to individual patients, the role for imaging in clinical decision making, and the goal of sustained, drug free remission and disease prevention in the future.

PMID:38233032 | DOI:10.1136/bmj-2022-070856

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