RA usually requires lifelong treatment, including medications, physical therapy, exercise, education, and possibly surgery. Early, aggressive treatment for RA can delay joint destruction.
- Pharmacological treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis can be divided into disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), anti-inflammatory agents and analgesics.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs have been found to produce durable remissions and delay or halt disease progression. In particular they prevent bone and joint damage from occurring secondary to the uncontrolled inflammation.
- Tools such as ultrasound and MRI are more sensitive methods of imaging the joints and have demonstrated that joint damage occurs much earlier and in more patients than was previously thought. Patients with normal X-rays will often have erosions detectable by ultrasound that X ray could not demonstrate.