OBJECTIVE: To develop updated guidelines for the pharmacologic management of rheumatoid arthritis.
METHODS: We developed clinically relevant population, intervention, comparator, and outcomes (PICO) questions. After conducting a systematic literature review, the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to rate the certainty of evidence. A voting panel comprising clinicians and patients achieved consensus on the direction (for or against) and strength (strong or conditional) of recommendations.
RESULTS: The guideline addresses treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), including conventional synthetic DMARDs, biologic DMARDs, and targeted synthetic DMARDs, use of glucocorticoids, and use of DMARDs in certain high-risk populations (i.e., those with liver disease, heart failure, lymphoproliferative disorders, previous serious infections, and nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease). The guideline includes 44 recommendations (7 strong and 37 conditional).
CONCLUSION: This clinical practice guideline is intended to serve as a tool to support clinician and patient decision-making. Recommendations are not prescriptive, and individual treatment decisions should be made through a shared decision-making process based on patients' values, goals, preferences, and comorbidities.