Evidence from clinical trials and long-term observational studies that disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs slow radiographic progression in rheumatoid arthritis: updating a 1983 review

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2002 Dec;41(12):1346-56. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/41.12.1346.


Earlier reports, including a comprehensive 1983 review, had indicated that slowing of radiographic progression was relatively unusual in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) using traditional disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. However, in recent years, slowing of radiographic progression has been documented in a number of clinical trials, as well as long-term observational studies, with use of (in alphabetical order) adalimumab, anakinra, corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporin, etanercept, gold salts, infliximab, leflunomide, methotrexate and sulphasalazine. At this time, disease modification is a realistic goal in the clinical care of patients with RA. Documentation of improved long-term outcomes requires long-term observational data over 5-20 yr to supplement data from randomized controlled clinical trials over 6-24 months.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Arthrography
  • Disease Progression
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents