Views on glucocorticoid therapy in rheumatology: the age of convergence

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2020 Apr;16(4):239-246. doi: 10.1038/s41584-020-0370-z. Epub 2020 Feb 19.


After decades of sometimes fierce debate about the advantages and disadvantages of glucocorticoids, an age of convergence has been reached. Current recommendations for the management of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), polymyalgia rheumatica and large vessel vasculitis reflect the current consensus that as much glucocorticoid as necessary, but as little as possible, should be used. Over the past few years, a range of glucocorticoid-sparing strategies have been developed, as have tools to improve the management of this therapy. A comprehensive view of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis has also emerged that recognizes that bone fragility is not solely determined by the dose and duration of glucocorticoid treatment. Nevertheless, open questions remain around whether long-term use of very low doses of glucocorticoids is a realistic option for patients with RA and whether the search for innovative glucocorticoids or glucocorticoid receptor ligands with improved benefit-to-risk ratios will ultimately be successful.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Rheumatic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Rheumatology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids