Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Prim Care. 2018 Jun;45(2):237-255. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2018.02.010.


Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory arthritis, and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Primary care providers should be able to distinguish the clinical presentation of rheumatoid arthritis from osteoarthritis, because the treatment and outcomes differ greatly between these 2 common forms of arthritis. This article provides a current overview of our understanding of rheumatoid arthritis, with an emphasis on early diagnosis and approaches to treatment.

Keywords: Biologic agents; Diagnostic criteria; Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs; Extra-articular manifestations; Rheumatoid arthritis; Synovitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antirheumatic Agents