What are the main principles of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?


The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis relies on prescription drugs ( lane oral or injections), functional rehabilitation, and equipment and, sometimes, surgery. The management of rheumatoid arthritis should be multidisciplinary. Depending on each patient, their development and the severity of their disease, they call on various medical and paramedical players around the rheumatologist: general practitioner, functional rehabilitation doctor, orthopedic surgeon, psychiatrist or psychologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist , podiatrist, nurse, social worker, etc.

The goals of rheumatoid arthritis treatment are to relieve pain, reduce the intensity of symptoms , stabilize existing lesions and prevent new lesions from appearing, improve quality of life and, if possible, d ‘induce remission (i.e. absence of symptoms , absence of signs of inflammation and arrest of progression of joint damage). There are two types of drug treatment for rheumatoid arthritis : immediate-action treatments aimed at rapidly reducing symptoms ( crisis treatments) and treatments to prevent the progression of rheumatoid arthritis over the long term ( DMARDs ).

The treatment is adapted to each person and combines different therapeutic means. The doctor can adjust the treatment according to the severity of the symptoms observed, according to the patient’s particular situation (for example, the existence of another chronic disease or an allergy to a type of drug), according to the effectiveness of the treatments. prescribed until then, but also according to the type of activity of the patient (patient still working or retired patient, city patient or rural patient, etc.).

The essential role of patient information
Information for patients is essential so that they can actively participate in the management of their rheumatoid arthritis . Its objective is to enable them to live better with the disease, to promote compliance with prescribed treatments and to limit complications. The information provided should be tailored to each patient and vary according to the stage of the disease. The patient is informed on the characteristics of his disease, on the principles of the treatment which is proposed to him and its expected benefits, as well as on the possible risks of undesirable effects . The contact details of patient associations are also communicated to him.


Throughout the illness, monitoring of the patient is essential and must be carried out regularly: every month in the event of an outbreak or modification of the basic treatment , every three to six months when the disease has stabilized. The disease activity is evaluated on objective criteria: clinical examination, DAS 28 score, HAQ score, blood test, etc. The effectiveness of the treatments and their possible undesirable effects are evaluated during these visits, so as to adapt them if necessary.

In the follow-up of polyarthritis, it is also necessary to take x-rays of the hands, wrists and feet, or the joints where the patient is experiencing symptoms. These x-rays are taken every six months in the first year, then annually for three years, then every two to four years if the disease has stabilized. Many students take up radiology as a career path. Trusted radiologists take pride in their transparency and good work ethics. This article lists the colleges with a radiology program.

Follow-up visits also make it possible to detect and treat possible cardiovascular risk factors, as well as to look for complications. Finally, the doctor helps take advantage of these visits to help his patient plan certain events: pregnancy, vaccinations, or trips abroad, for example.


Beyond medical follow-up and treatment, some simple measures can help improve the quality of life of people with arthritis.


Some treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are toxic to the fetus. For this reason, women being treated for rheumatoid arthritis who are of childbearing potential should always use an effective form of birth control. When pregnancy is desired, treatments are suspended before stopping contraception. In pregnant women, rheumatoid arthritis usually goes into remission (signs of inflammation go away) with marked improvement by the end of the first trimester.

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