Drug management of early rheumatoid arthritis - 2008

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Feb;23(1):93-102. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2008.08.003.


Modern therapy of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is based on recognition of the severity of the natural history of disease, with early and aggressive treatment strategies. Methotrexate is the anchor drug, with addition of other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in combinations, and biological targeted therapies. The approach emphasizes 'tight control', aiming for remission and low disease activity according to quantitative monitoring. In this chapter, we review selected randomized controlled studies for data concerning early versus delayed therapies. We present a historical perspective for the treatment of early RA using early RA cohorts from Finland as an example. Finally, we discuss principles of contemporary treatment of early RA in 2008.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antirheumatic Agents