Advances in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis.
The inflammatory arthritides are a diverse group of conditions characterised by joint inflammation which can lead to pain, deformity and disability. Of these diseases, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and spondyloarthritis are two of the most common. While the clinical and demographic features of these diseases differ, the central role of inflammation in their pathogenesis has allowed the development of highly effective treatment strategies with wide applicability. These strategies include the use of biological agents which target the cytokine tumour necrosis factor (TNF), a key mediator of inflammation. With the advent of effective agents, therapy has become more aggressive, reducing disease activity and allowing, at least in RA, remission in many patients. While the array of available effective treatments is extensive, the use of objective measures of disease activity can guide treatment decisions (treat to target) and lead to improved outcomes.
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