0

The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Reviews |

Rational Use of New and Existing Disease-Modifying Agents in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Joel M. Kremer, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From The Center for Rheumatology, Albany, New York.


Requests for Single Reprints: Joel M. Kremer, MD, The Center for Rheumatology, 1367 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12206; e-mail, jkremer@rheum-docs.com.


Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(8):695-706. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-134-8-200104170-00013
Text Size: A A A

Because of radiographic evidence of progressive bone loss and the inability to eliminate synovial proliferation with methotrexate, it became apparent that therapy for rheumatoid arthritis needed further advancement. Methotrexate is not a remission-inducing drug and may have dose-limiting toxicity. In the past 2 years, three new disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) have been approved: leflunomide, etanercept, and infliximab. Each of these agents has demonstrated efficacy compared with placebo in randomized, controlled studies. Because methotrexate had a dominant therapeutic role, the new drugs were also studied in combination with it. Other established DMARDs, such as sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine, have also demonstrated efficacy when used together with methotrexate. The results of these combination studies clearly demonstrate that clinical responses can be meaningfully improved when new and existing DMARDs are added to methotrexate. Although toxicity remains a serious concern when powerful immune modulators and antimetabolites are used in combination, relatively few serious adverse events have been reported during 2-year treatment periods. It has also become apparent that combinations of new DMARDs and methotrexate virtually halt radiographic progression over 2 years. The new agents are expensive, but annual costs must be weighed against the personal and societal expense of joint arthroplasty, hospitalizations, disability, and diminished quality of life that accompanies poorly controlled rheumatoid arthritis. The ultimate value of combination DMARD therapy with methotrexate will be determined by long-term data on safety, efficacy, and effects on radiographic deterioration of bone. Additional long-term observational data on the incidence of joint arthroplasty and disability will help to place the issue of societal costs in a better perspective. This will allow the value of aggressive treatment to be established with certainty.

Figures

Tables

References

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Related Point of Care
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)