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Review: individual DMARDs have similar efficacy for RA, but combination therapy improves response

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Dr K E Donahue

Correspondence to: Dr K E Donahue, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA;


In adults with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), what are the relative benefits and harms of various disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)?


Studies selected compared different DMARDs in adults with RA. Outcomes were clinical response, radiographic progression, functional capacity, quality of life, and adverse events.


5 databases (to September 2007); reference lists; and drug companies were searched for head-to-head, randomised, controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective cohort studies, published in English with ⩾100 patients and ⩾12 weeks of follow-up. 143 articles on 101 studies met the selection criteria. …

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  • Source of funding: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.