Among other findings in the report:
-- Combining prednisone with the synthetic DMARD hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate or sulfasalazine works better than using only a synthetic DMARD to reduce joint swelling and tenderness and to improve function.
-- No meaningful clinical differences can be found between methotrexate and either leflunomide or sulfasalazine.
-- Combining the synthetic DMARDs methotrexate and sulfasalazine is no more effective than using just one of the medications for patients with early rheumatoid arthritis.
-- Not enough evidence exists to determine whether combining two biologic DMARDs is more effective than using one biologic DMARD.
-- About 17 of every 1,000 people taking a biologic DMARD for 3 to 12 months have a serious infection. Combining two biologic DMARDs can increase the risk.
-- Among biologic DMARDs, rates of painful injection site reactions are more common for anakinra (67 percent) than for etanercept (22 percent) or adalimumab (18 percent).
-- More long-term research is needed on rheumatoid arthritis
medications, including how the outcomes of these drugs vary among patients
with different health conditions and demographic characteristics. More
comparative studies on various combinations of drugs are critical. Also
important is investigating whether taking the medications ea
|SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality|
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