Advertisement

What are the treatment goals for rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

The overall goal of treating rheumatoid arthritis is to halt or at least quiet and slow the disease while improving the patient's well-being. There is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), so the focus of treatment is to achieve one of the following:

True remission: In true remission, all of your symptoms (swelling, pain, fatigue) have gone, but you don't just feel better; x-rays show that the disease has been stopped. There is no new joint damage, and old damage is healing. You will still need to take medication -- rheumatoid arthritis never goes away completely -- but this is the best-case scenario. Early, aggressive treatment is your best shot at true remission.

Clinical remission: All of your symptoms are gone, but x-rays still show evidence of disease activity. New joint damage is still occurring and old damage is not healing. This is the second best treatment scenario.

Near remission: Near remission is usually the goal for people who've had RA for many years. Near remission means your symptoms have been reduced, and your day-to-day functioning has improved. This scenario requires more day-to-day management of the condition, including self-care.

To meet these goals, aggressive treatment plans are likely to include a combination of powerful medications that not only treat symptoms but also slow the disease and prevent joint damage. These drugs are called disease-modifying antirheumetic drugs (DMARDs).

Take the RealAge Test!

Continue Learning about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment and Remission
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment and Remission
In her blog, RAWarrior.com, RA advocate and Sharecare Top 10 Online Influencer, Kelly Young says, "I always thought remission was the Holy Grail -- ha...
Read More
Can nutritional supplements for RA relieve pain?
Alan GabyAlan Gaby
Research has demonstrated that certain nutritional supplements can improve the symptoms of rheumatoi...
More Answers
When is knee replacement surgery for RA recommended?
Howard J. Luks, MDHoward J. Luks, MD
The indications for a knee replacement in patients with rheumatoid arthritis are not very different ...
More Answers
What Are DMARDs and How Do They Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis?
What Are DMARDs and How Do They Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.