Challenging the therapeutic pyramid: a new look at treatment strategies for rheumatoid arthritis

J Rheumatol Suppl. 1990 Nov;25:4-7.


Traditional therapy of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been dominated by the therapeutic pyramid. This approach is not working. The designation of drugs as either antiinflammatory or disease modifying is not borne out by experience. We possess a number of drugs, each only partially effective against inflammation, that work by poorly understood mechanisms. Until a major breakthrough appears, it is proposed to treat RA with a combination of these medications early in the disease course, to gain control of the inflammation, and then bridge to a simplified program by withdrawing drugs sequentially.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Rheumatology / trends*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Prednisolone
  • Aspirin
  • Methotrexate