As the most common form of chronic arthritis that is caused by the immune system, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 1.3 million Americans. Rheumatoid arthritis causes certain cells to attack healthy tissue around the joints, causing inflammation, pain and stiffness. Severe symptoms may cause deformities in finger joints, lumps near certain joints, and even damage to other organs such as the heart and lungs.
Rheumatoid arthritis therapy can help significantly slow or stop damage to joints. Recent advances in rheumatoid arthritis treatment have proven very effective, especially when the disease is diagnosed early and treated aggressively. A common therapy for rheumatoid arthritis is DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs), which are often given along with NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Low-dose corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are another option. Most patients find that these therapies provide dramatic relief of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. For those with more advanced disease, surgery such as joint replacement can help patients them to comfortable, productive lives.
Patients seeking the foremost rheumatoid arthritis therapy available can find innovative, comprehensive care at the Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of chronic arthritis caused by the immune system – affecting 1.3 million Americans. Symptoms and their degree of impact can vary greatly, and the earlier the disease is diagnosed and treatment begins the better. In this video, Michael E. Weinblatt, MD, Co-Director, Clinical Rheumatology and R. Bruce and Joan M. Hickey Distinguished Chair in Rheumatology, Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation, and Immunity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), discusses rheumatoid arthritis therapy and treatment along with an overview of promising research at BWH.
Innovative rheumatoid arthritis therapy at BWH
Treating the entire spectrum of arthritis-related diseases, The BWH Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases has a specialized focus rheumatoid arthritis therapy and research, as well as lupus treatment, psoriatic arthritis treatment, and treatment of spine disorders.
The Center has a strong history of innovation in arthritis therapy and research – the institution began as the first teaching hospital in the U.S. focused solely on rheumatoid arthritis and related diseases. Today the Center's pioneering research and innovative therapy techniques have helped BWH earn the reputation as one of the nation's top providers of rheumatology care.
With more than 40 board-certified rheumatologists and allergists on the medical team, the Center has one of the largest and most diversified medical staffs in the country, with physicians collaborating with other specialists in bone and joint radiology, orthopedics, pain management, occupational and physical therapy and other services to deliver effective and state-of-the-art care to more than 30,000 patients every year.
In addition to rheumatoid arthritis therapy, the Center offers additional arthritis and joint services that include:
New therapy options for rheumatoid arthritis patients
The Center's therapeutics research group has an international reputation for evaluating treatment of rheumatic disease and rheumatoid arthritis in particular. Through a very active clinical trials program, the group is at the forefront of evaluating new rheumatoid arthritis therapy programs, including combination therapies and TNF inhibitors – a highly promising therapy for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.