Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: state of the art 2009

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2009 Oct;5(10):531-41. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2009.182.


Few, if any, areas of medical therapeutics have witnessed such dramatic changes as those that have occurred in the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during the past two decades. Improvements in clinical trials methodologies, the introduction of no fewer than nine biologic agents with distinct mechanisms of action, and the development of better strategies for the use of such agents have all contributed to the new age in RA therapeutics. Here, we review these developments and attempt to describe the current landscape of RA therapy in terms of available treatments, agreed-upon principles of RA management, as well as some important controversies in this field. Despite the great pace at which developments are moving, a treatment-free remission for patients with RA remains an elusive goal and unmet medical needs remain. The quest for better therapies for this potentially devastating disease is still as important as ever; research in this exciting area is ongoing, and it is reasonable to hope that, during the next decade, developments will lead to improved, rationally designed, targeted therapies for RA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Design
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antirheumatic Agents