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Commentary

Are biologics more effective than classical disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs?

Michael T Nurmohamed12* and Ben AC Dijkmans12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rheumatology, VU University Medical Centre, De Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Rheumatology, Jan van Breemen Institute, Dr Jan van Breemenstraat 2, 1056 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2008, 10:118  doi:10.1186/ar2491

Published: 19 September 2008

Abstract

Major achievements have been reached in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis during past decades due to the recognition of methotrexate as an anchor drug for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, due to the notion of a treatment window of opportunity in patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis necessitating early aggressive therapy, due to the development of biologics and due to remission as a treatment target. Most biologics have a much faster onset of action than synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, but presently there is no convincing evidence that biologic drugs have a superior clinical efficacy in comparison with the synthetic drugs. Biologics are, however, accompanied by less radiological deterioration.