Moving Beyond Methotrexate for Rheumatoid Arthritis

By

Paul Sutej, MD

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How Biologics Are Given

Methotrexate is the gold standard drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). About 30% of RA patients worldwide are well controlled by methotrexate alone. It’s part of a class of medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). While we don’t completely understand how it works in RA, methotrexate reduces inflammation and slows the progression of the disease by suppressing immune system activity. It typically takes 3 to 4 months to feel the full effects of methotrexate, but if after six months, a patient’s RA symptoms haven’t been alleviated, I’ll decide to try something else.

W. Hayes Wilson, MD, discusses the basics of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and treatment.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Feb 16, 2015

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