Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment. A Back to the Drawing Board Project or High Expectations for Low Unmet Needs?
Rheumatology Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(8), 1237; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8081237
Received: 5 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology)
Despite the significant progress in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) therapeutics, there are several reports in the literature claiming that the size of unmet needs in RA is large. In the era before biologics, there was indeed a significant number of patients who did not achieve low disease activity (LDA) or disease remission due to limited therapeutic choices in the doctors’ armamentarium. Treatment wise, great progress has been achieved over the last decades with the discovery and introduction in therapeutics of new molecules, such as the biological (b) disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and the targeted synthetic (ts) DMARDs. Today, with such a plethora of conventional synthetic (cs) DMARDs, tsDMARDs, and bDMARDs, why are we unable to successfully treat RA patients? What is wrong? However, a new drug for RA does not mean it is necessary to switch to a new treatment. It is very easy to change and switch therapies when the patient complains about pain and stiffness. In this setting, it is obligatory to rule out other comorbidities and disorders that may be the cause of the pain first. Thus, clinicians must have a deep knowledge of the drug therapy and be able to adjust the treatment when needed. A minute clinical examination must be carried out on every visit with close monitoring of the patient. A treat-to-target (T2T) approach and the application of the American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) recommendations and strategies should minimize the unmet needs.