Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic inflammatory disorder that manifests predominantly in the synovial joint, where it causes a chronic inflammatory process, leading to early osteoarticular destructions. These destructions are progressive and irreversible, generating a significant functional deficiency. During the last years, the diagnostic approach of RA has focused on early arthritis. Early arthritis can develop into established RA or another established arthropathy, like systemic lupus erythematosus or psoriatic arthritis. It can have a spontaneous resolution or may remain undifferentiated for indefinite periods of time.
The management of early arthritis has changed considerably in the past few years, under the influence of new concepts of diagnosis and new effective therapies. The treatment goal of early arthritis should now be the clinical remission and prevention of joint destruction. Methotrexate is the first line of therapy, used to treat early arthralgia and to reverse or limit impending exacerbation to RA. Biological treatment is used as a second line therapy in patients with severe disease who do not respond or have a contraindication to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Patients with early arthritis should usually be identified and directed to rheumatologists to confirm the presence of arthritis, and to establish the correct diagnosis plus to initiate the proper treatment strategies.
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Iftimie, Georgiana; Stanescu, Ana Maria Alexandra; Iancu, Mihaela A.; Pantea Stoian, Anca; Hainarosie, Razvan; Socea, Bogdan; Isvoranu, Gheorghita; Marcu, Dragos; Neagu, Tiberiu P.; and Diaconu, Camelia C.
"The importance of early arthritis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis,"
Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences: Vol. 5
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/jmms/vol5/iss2/6