Combination Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Era of Biologicals

Abstract

Early, aggressive disease management is critical for halting disease progression and joint destruction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Combination therapy with at least two disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, such as methotrexate (MTX), sulfasalazine, or hydroxychloroquine, is often more effective than monotherapy in reducing disease activity. Biologic therapies represent more effective and tolerable treatment options that, when combined with MTX, have been shown to dramatically reduce inflammation, inhibit radiographic progression, and induce remission. Although several types of treatment strategies are used in clinical practice, the most aggressive approaches that target early disease have shown the most promise in reversing disease progression and reducing disease-related costs.

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Acknowledgements

The thoughtful suggestions of Dr. C. Ronald MacKenzie and Dr. Sergio Schwartzman are gratefully appreciated. I thank Ting Chang and Ruth Pereira for editorial support.

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Correspondence to Allan Gibofsky MD, JD, FACP, FCLM.

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Gibofsky, A. Combination Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Era of Biologicals. HSS Jrnl 2, 30–41 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11420-005-0133-z

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Key words

  • combination therapy
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
  • joint destruction
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • tumor necrosis factor antagonists