The role of low-dose glucocorticoids for rheumatoid arthritis in the biologic era

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In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), low-dose glucocorticoid (GC) therapy has a well-established effecton disease activity. Particularly in early RA, robust evidence demonstrates that GC treatment in association with standard disease- modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) is effective in inducing high remission rates, earlier and more persistently. Despite international recommendations that discouragelong-term concomitant GC use, the majority of the clinical trials and observational registries on biologic agents include a high proportion (up to 80%) of patients in treatment with GC. From an analysisof the literature, a substantial lack of reliable information about the efficacy of GC in associationwith biologic agents emerges; in particular, the role of GC co-therapy in sustaining remission after biological therapy discontinuation remains to be clarified. Given the increasing prevalence of patients in sustained remission, a rational discontinuation strategy should include low-dose GCs in the experimental design to elucidate their role in inducing and maintaining biologic-free remission, for efficacy, safety and pharmacoeconomic considerations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue numberSUPPL.78
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Biologics
  • Discontinuation
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Remission
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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