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A short history of anti-rheumatic therapy - VI. Rheumatoid arthritis drugs

G. Pasero, P. Marson
  • G. Pasero
    Università di Pisa, Italy
  • P. Marson
    Unità di Aferesi Terapeutica, U.O.C. Immunotrasfusionale, Azienda Ospedale Università di Padova, Italy | piero.marson@sanita.padova.it

Abstract

The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis traditionally includes symptomatic drugs, showing a prompt action on pain and infl ammation, but without any infl uence on disease progression, and other drugs that could modify the disease course and occasionally induce clinical remission (DMARDs or disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs). This review describes the historical steps that led to the use of the main DMARDs in rheumatoid arthritis, such as gold salts, sulphasalazine, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, D-penicillamine, and other immunoactive drugs, including methotrexate, azathioprine, cyclosporin and lefl unomide. The historical evolution of use of these drugs is then discussed, including the strategy of progressive (“therapeutic pyramid”) or of more aggressive treatment, through the simultaneous use of two or more DMARDs (“combination therapy”).

Keywords

History of rheumatology, rheumatoid arthritis, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, therapeutic strategy.

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Submitted: 2011-09-12 14:15:14
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