Author(s): Kumar P, Banik S
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Drugs form the mainstay of therapy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Five main classes of drugs are currently used: analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), glucocorticoids, nonbiologic and biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Current clinical practice guidelines recommend that clinicians start biologic agents if patients have suboptimal response or intolerant to one or two traditional disease modifying agents (DMARDs). Methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide and hydroxychloroquine are the commonly used DMARDs. Currently, anti-TNF is the commonly used first line biologic worldwide followed by abatacept and it is usually combined with MTX. There is some evidence that tocilizumab is the most effective biologic as a monotherapy agent. Rituximab is generally not used as a first line biologic therapy due to safety issues but still as effective as anti-TNF. The long term data for the newer oral small molecule biologics such as tofacitinib is not available and hence used only as a last resort.
This article was published in Clin Med Insights Arthritis MusculoskeletDisord
and referenced in Immunotherapy: Open Access