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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Aug 2023 - 1 Sep 2023


Human Studies, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Arthritis, Inflammation/Inflammatory

2023 Aug 29

Autoimmun Rev


To treat or not to treat rheumatoid arthritis with glucocorticoids? A reheated debate.


Cutolo M, Shoenfeld Y, Bogdanos DP, Gotelli E, Salvato M, Gunkl-Tóth L, Nagy G


The therapeutic landscape of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has rapidly evolved in the last few decades. At the same time, recommendations for the management of the disease suggest to minimize glucocorticoids (GCs) use in RA patients. Major concerns are the risk of long-term adverse events and the difficulties in discontinuing GCs once initiated. However, real-world data show that up to 50% of RA patients continue to take GCs during the disease course. Adverse events of GCs usually occur after a long-term use, which can limit the generalizability of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) proving no or minimal harm. Observational studies show conflicting results regarding the safety of GSs and are subjected to a high risk of bias, including indication bias. Thus, whether or not GCs should be used in the management of RA is still a matter of debate. The main reasons to support GCs use are the ability to rapidly suppress joint inflammation while waiting for the full effect of conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (csDMARD) and the acknowledged efficacy on radiographic progression in early RA. The main reasons to avoid GCs use in RA are that their potential risks may outweigh their benefits and there is no agreement on the minimal daily dosage of GC which can be considered safe.