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American College of Rheumatology presents recommendations for rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Date:6/3/2008

To manage the painful and incapacitating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic, inflammatory joint disease, the majority of patients rely on disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). In addition to trusted nonbiologic DMARDs, a number of biologic agents now promise to improve treatment for RA. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR), respected worldwide for its devotion to fostering excellence in patient care, has not updated recommendations for non-biologic DMARDs since 2002 and has not previously developed recommendations for biologic agents. In view of that, ACR decided it was time for a major re-evaluation of the use of DMARD therapy in rheumatoid arthritis.

Under the guidance of a Core Expert Panel of clinicians and methodologists and based on a systematic review of the scientific evidence, a second group of internationally recognized clinicians, methodologists, and patient representatives with extensive expertise in the use of nonbiologic and biologic DMARDs developed these recommendations for the ACR and the results of their work will be presented in the June 2008 issue of Arthritis Care & Research (www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis). These recommendations on the use of non-biologic and biologic DMARDs in RA address 5 key areas pre-specified by the ACR: indications for use, monitoring for side-effects, assessing the clinical response, screening for tuberculosis (a risk factor associated with biologic DMARDs), and under certain circumstances (i.e. high disease activity) the roles of cost and patient preference in choosing biologic agents. When developing these recommendations, RA disease duration, disease severity, and prognostic features were also considered.

"These recommendations were developed for specialist clinicians familiar with assessing RA disease activity and disease severity," notes Kenneth Saag, M.D., Professor of Med
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Contact: Sean Wagner
swagner@wiley.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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