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Using guidelines to manage early rheumatoid arthritis

How should patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis be managed?

Rating Bottom Line

These guidelines, from the European League Against Rheumatism recommend early diagnosis and rapid initiation of treatment with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) even before the symptoms meet official criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). For most patients the initial choice of DMARD is methotrexate. Anti-inflammatorydrug therapy, exercise, occupational therapyand hydrotherapy should be used to treat painand maintain function.

Treatment should begin within six weeks of diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis Treatment should begin within six weeks of diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis

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