Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body is attacking its own joints. It’s a progressive disease meaning it only gets worse. Our goal is to slow this progression. As it continues, it causes destruction and deformation of joints. It could be anywhere from juvenile to adult onset. It’s worst in juveniles because there’s more years of destruction going on.
We’re going to talk about step-therapy, including salicylates and NSAID’s and then progressively more toxic drugs. These include the Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs). We have a dilemma though because the NSAID’s are a little less toxic, but they cannot stop the progression of he disease. The more toxic group, the DMARDs, slow the progression of the disease.