According to a recent news release, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has released the 2012 recommendations for the use of disease-modifying anthirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biological agents in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The guidelines are designed as an update to the 2008 recommendations and address the issues of initiating and switching drugs, screening for tuberculosis (TB) reactivation, immunization, and the use of biologics in high-risk RA patients.

The news release reports that the 2012 DMARD and biologic agents recommendations concentrate primarily on four updates sections. These sections include indications for use and switching of DMARDs and biologics, use of biological agents in high-risk RA patients with hepatitis, cancer, or congestive heart failure, screening for TB in RA patients starting or receiving biological drugs, and vaccination in patients starting or receiving DMARDs or biologics.

Jasvinder Singh, MD, MPH, University of Alabama at Birmingham, reportedly served as principal investigator for the 2012 update of the guidelines. Singh notes that while the recommendations for DMARD and biologic treatment are designed to provide a guide for the care of RA patients, “these guidelines should not replace important physician-patient discussions of individual clinical decisions that take into account assessments of risk-benefits, patient preferences, and economic considerations,” Singh says.

The recommendations appear in the ACR journal Arthritis Care & Research.

To read the 2012 recommendations, click here.

Source: Arthritis Care & Research