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24-05-2018 | Rheumatoid arthritis | Article

2017 recommendations of the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology for the pharmacological treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Advances in Rheumatology

Authors: Licia Maria Henrique da Mota, Adriana Maria Kakehasi, Ana Paula Monteiro Gomides, Angela Luzia Branco Pinto Duarte, Bóris Afonso Cruz, Claiton Viegas Brenol, Cleandro Pires de Albuquerque, Geraldo da Rocha Castelar Pinheiro, Ieda Maria Magalhães Laurindo, Ivanio Alves Pereira, Manoel Barros Bertolo, Mariana Peixoto Guimarães Ubirajara Silva de Souza, Max Vitor Carioca de Freitas, Paulo Louzada-Júnior, Ricardo Machado Xavier, Rina Dalva Neubarth Giorgi

Publisher: BioMed Central


The objective of this document is to provide a comprehensive update of the recommendations of Brazilian Society of Rheumatology on drug treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), based on a systematic literature review and on the opinion of a panel of rheumatologists. Four general principles and eleven recommendations were approved. General principles: RA treatment should (1) preferably consist of a multidisciplinary approach coordinated by a rheumatologist, (2) include counseling on lifestyle habits, strict control of comorbidities, and updates of the vaccination record, (3) be based on decisions shared by the patient and the physician after clarification about the disease and the available therapeutic options; (4) the goal is sustained clinical remission or, when this is not feasible, low disease activity. Recommendations: (1) the first line of treatment should be a csDMARD, started as soon as the diagnosis of RA is established; (2) methotrexate (MTX) is the first-choice csDMARD; (3) the combination of two or more csDMARDs, including MTX, may be used as the first line of treatment; (4) after failure of first-line therapy with MTX, the therapeutic strategies include combining MTX with another csDMARD (leflunomide), with two csDMARDs (hydroxychloroquine and sulfasalazine), or switching MTX for another csDMARD (leflunomide or sulfasalazine) alone; (5) after failure of two schemes with csDMARDs, a bDMARD may be preferably used or, alternatively a tsDMARD, preferably combined, in both cases, with a csDMARD; (6) the different bDMARDs in combination with MTX have similar efficacy, and therefore, the therapeutic choice should take into account the peculiarities of each drug in terms of safety and cost; (7) the combination of a bDMARD and MTX is preferred over the use of a bDMARD alone; (8) in case of failure of an initial treatment scheme with a bDMARD, a scheme with another bDMARD can be used; in cases of failure with a TNFi, a second bDMARD of the same class or with another mechanism of action is effective and safe; (9) tofacitinib can be used to treat RA after failure of bDMARD; (10) corticosteroids, preferably at low doses for the shortest possible time, should be considered during periods of disease activity, and the risk-benefit ratio should also be considered; (11) reducing or spacing out bDMARD doses is possible in patients in sustained remission.

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