Treatment for Elderly-Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis


Chris Iliades, MD

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If you are older than 60 years of age and develop symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may have what is called late-onset rheumatoid arthritis, or elderly-onset rheumatoid arthritis (EORA). Your doctor can diagnose EORA by your symptoms, a physical exam, special X-rays, and blood tests.

One of the problems with treating EORA is that older people may be more sensitive to the drugs used to treat RA. That’s because as you get older you may have other medical problems, and RA drugs may need to be added to the drugs you are already taking. That could mean more drug interactions and side effects. Older people may also clear drugs from their systems differently than younger people. All these factors may make it difficult for you and your doctor to treat EORA.

Treatment Options for EORA

There is good news about your treatment. Most of the same drugs used to treat younger people with RA will work for you and the side effects can be managed. The goals of treatment are the same: Reduce swelling, reduce pain and stiffness, and stop the disease from getting worse. In many cases, these drugs can put your EORA into remission for long periods of time. This means that your body shows no signs of the disease and you have few or no symptoms.

Watch Identifying Treatment Options