Glucocorticoids: action and new therapeutic insights in rheumatoid arthritis

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2007 May;19(3):233-7. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0b013e3280d6471a.


Purpose of review: To summarize the mechanism of action of glucocorticoids, the direction that current research is taking and what this might mean for clinicians.

Recent findings: New cellular actions of glucocorticoids have been identified, and offer new drug targets. There is increasing competition to find a glucocorticoid formulation or analogue that enhances therapeutic effects while reducing adverse effects. Clinically, there is increasing evidence for the disease-modifying effects of glucocorticoids, which makes these developments topical and relevant. Better understanding of the pathology of rheumatoid arthritis and the circadian variation in symptoms that is a hallmark of the disease may also affect the way that we use these drugs.

Summary: Glucocorticoids are about to enter a renaissance based on better understanding of how they work and novel approaches to new therapeutic targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / drug effects


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid