Is there a cure for Rheumatoid arthritis?

RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) is a chronic disease wherein the body identifies its own joints as foreign & attacks them. This is a dysregulation of the normal immune mechanisms in the body. The function of the immune system is to identify the foreign agents such as microbes & protect the body against them by eliminating them. However, due to unknown reasons, the immune system starts identifying its own joints as foreign, mounts an offensive against them & that is how RA develops.
This dysregulated mechanism is caused by an interaction between genetic factors, environmental factors (like smoking) & immune mechanism. Despite the numerous scientific advances, we have still not been able to clearly disentangle the complex causative mechanisms & their interactions. Given the incomplete understanding, a cure of this dysregulation is not yet possible.
In this respect, RA is similar to chronic diseases like hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). In these diseases, since a cure is not possible; tight control to avoid organ damage is the main goal.
Similarly, though the RA related dysregulation is incurable, control is a definite possibility. With early diagnosis, early DMARD therapy; RA activity can be tightly controlled & joint damage prevented.
By wearing spectacles, one is not cured of the refractory error; but is as good as a normal person. Similarly, there may not be a cure for RA, but that should not stop one from being a normal person. One can definitely achieve conquest over RA when diagnosed & treated early with definite medicines (DMARDs).

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8 Responses to Is there a cure for Rheumatoid arthritis?

  1. Chandrika Shetty says:

    Do indomethacin and sulfasalazine work for RA?

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    • Dear Chandrika,

      Indomethacin is an anti inflammatory drug. It does help reduce the pain but does not really affect the course of Rheumatoid arthritis.

      Sulphasalazine is an anti arthritis drug & does help reduce the RA related inflammation.

      However; as a combination, the two are not the best drugs to combat active RA. Methotrexate remains the best option in combination with other DMARDs for Rheumatoid arthritis. Sulphasalazine alone is generally given in special situations like pregnancy & lactation.

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  2. rachel says:

    do steroids do anything in the course of JRA?
    when my esr levels r high n there are very much aches n swelling…my doc gives….
    i insist for painkillers bt he doesnt agree…
    n i wish smbody find a cure….it will b fun living without all this……disease is bad bt side effects of meds also suck!

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    • Dear Rachel,

      Steroids are used in short course when there is a flare of JRA. They are not used in the long run unles there are compelling indications. Since they work fast, they are good at managing a flare.

      You seem to have a bad disease with persistent aches; however, do continue with the meds, speak to your Rheumatologist regarding the side effects you face. Believe me, there is a solution to most of the problems & hope you conquer your JRA.

      All the best!
      Dr. Akerkar.

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      • rachel says:

        wat are these compelling indications???
        if the patient is willing to bear…then?
        i fear the side effects of steroids as i m already overweight……n its tough to lose weight easily when ur movements hurt…
        is excessive fatigue also bcoz of flare?
        i m in my teenage rite now…when i will reach twenties n thirties.n so…wat is the avg prognosis….that happen in most of the cases?….will it go away or still persist?
        n yesssss…thank u fr the best wishes…
        u too bcome the best rheumatologist of the country…..

        tc

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  3. Hello, my name is Tobias Stolzenberg, and I’m in the payroll of ORGENTEC Diagnostika, working as marketer for our diagnostics products.

    As mentioned by Dr. Akerkar, a cure of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet possible. However, today remission is within one’s reach. Concerning this, the EULAR – European League Against Rheumatism – has recently released new RA guidelines for the management of rheumatoid arthritis. In these brand new recommendations the dramatic developments in therapeutic options in recent years have been recognised as well as the difficulties this has created in defining simple treatment algorithms.

    The EULAR guidelines can be downloaded free of charge using this link: http://ard.bmj.com/content/69/6/964.full.html

    What’s the paper about? – The essentials in brief: The recommendations state three overarching principles: 1. RA should be managed primarily by rheumatologists. 2. RA treatment should aim for “best care” and be based on shared decision-making between patient and rheumatologist. 3. In doing so, and according to the authors, the costs of RA treatment need to be balanced against the cost of having the disease.

    A concise list of 15 recommendations set out the detail of therapy. The first is that treatment with synthetic DMARDs should be commenced as soon as possible and as soon as the diagnosis is made.

    It is this DMARD treatment that has undergone dramatic changes the last ten years, opening up therapeutic dimensions unforeseen before, the authors state. For patients with active RA MTX (Methotrexate) should be first choice.

    Crucial point of the article: Remission is possible, and remission or low disease activity should be targeted as soon as possible and in every patient. As long as that point is not reached, treatment should be adjusted with frequent and strict monitoring every one to three months. – By the way, my blog post “10 Clinical Facts About Rheumatoid Arthritis” is along the same line: http://autoimmunityblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/10-clinical-facts-about-rheumatoid-arthritis/

    In the same issue of that EULAR journal there are five other evidence-based reviews accompanying the recommendation. These reviews are addressing treatment strategies and economic issues, synthetic DMARDs, biological DMARDs, and glucocorticoids. But I’m afraid you have to sign in to get the articles, and you will have to pay to download them.

    Regards, and have a nice evening!
    Tobias Stolzenberg
    ORGENTEC’s Autoimmunity Blog

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  4. ashok rathor says:

    what is the DMARD therapy? as stated in your blog. please elaborate the details such as duration of the therapy.
    I have a joint pain and swelling in my fingers and also unable to bend them fully.my age is 59.
    please advice.
    thank you.

    Like

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