In the fourth article in our series featuring the ïinformation for patients and professionalsÍ section from the latest evidence-based guidelines from SIGN, we reproduce the information section from SIGN guideline number 48, on the early management of rheumatoid arthritis.
These key messages are not intended for direct dissemination to patients, but are provided for possible use by clinicians in discussing treatment options with patients who have RA. They may be incorporated into local patient information materials.
- In RA joints become inflamed making them painful, swollen and stiff.
- The cause of RA is unknown.
- There is no single test to diagnose RA.
- RA cannot be cured at present, but in many cases it can be controlled.
- The progression of RA is different in each person.
- RA can be treated; reducing pain, stiffness, swelling and damage to joints.
- The sooner RA is treated the better, the earlier treatment is started the less damage takes place in the joints, meaning less restriction on carrying out normal activities.
- Treatment with DMARDs should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis.
- DMARDs take several weeks to start working and should be continued indefinitely.
- The treatment of RA requires input from a range of health professionals.
|Example information leaflet for patients with rheumatoid arthritis|
|Example information leaflet for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (continued)|
|Reproduced with permission from: SIGN 48. Management of early Rheumatoid Arthritis. Edinburgh: Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, December 2000. The full guideline can be downloaded from the SIGN website: www.sign.ac.uk|
|Arthritis related addresses and websites|
Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC)
British Health Professionals in Rheumatology and British League against Rheumatism (BLAR)
British Society for Rheumatology
University of Birmingham Department of Rheumatology http://rheuma.bham.ac.uk
|Other useful addresses and websites|
Disabled Living Foundation
Essential Facts: Independent Patient Information Sheets
Health Education Board for Scotland
Help for Health Trust (UK)
Medical Research Council
National Electronic Library for Health: www.nelh.nhs.uk
Organising Medical Networked Information (OMNI)
NHS Direct: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
UK Health Centre