Medical Grand Rounds

Rheumatoid arthritis: More aggressive approach improves outlook

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ABSTRACTAs recently as 10 years ago, many patients with rheumatoid arthritis would receive only a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and low-dose corticosteroids until damage to their joints was documented. Now, despite risks of toxicity and adverse effects, a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug such as methotrexate is given as early as possible to retard disease progression and help prevent new erosions. Other agents can be added to or used in place of methotrexate, such as a biologic response modifier that regulates the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha.


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