When the first visit to the rheumatologist is established rheumatoid arthritis

Publication date: Available online 27 January 2020Source: Best Practice &Research Clinical RheumatologyAuthor(s): Peter C. Taylor, Shing T. LawAbstractThe outlook for people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has improved tremendously in a generation. Major contributions to this include recognition of the importance of early treatment initiation, improved understanding of the pathobiology, the identification of therapeutic targets and their subsequent validation in clinic trials and the realisation of the importance of ‘tight control’ of inflammatory responses. Despite these advances, many patients meeting classification criteria present for the first time to a rheumatologist with longstanding symptoms. There is no definition as to when RA becomes ‘established’. But there is evidence that a ‘window of opportunity’ exists over about 12–16 weeks symptom duration, during which treatment intervention gives rise to the most optimal outcomes. This review addresses issues regarding the management of patients presenting outside the window of opportunity in terms of heterogeneity of presentation, assessment, therapeutic goals and treatment options as well as the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to holistic care.
Source: Best Practice and Research Clinical Rheumatology - Category: Rheumatology Source Type: research

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