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Patient-centred management of inflammatory arthritis: more than just disease control

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It is important that patients’ broader health needs are addressed

Rheumatoid arthritis and seronegative spondyloarthropathies are the most common types of inflammatory arthritis. They cause pain, joint damage and progressive functional loss, which limit participation in life and constitute a significant disease burden.1,2 Over the past decades, great advances in management, with the availability of corticosteroids, synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biological DMARDs, have significantly improved the disease control and outcomes. The guidelines, whose algorithms focus on drug prescription to achieve remission of disease,3,4 support everyday treatment. However, while they provide direction for the use of DMARDs, they do not consider the patients’ broader health needs.

When optimising outcomes for people with inflammatory arthritis, there are significant discrepancies between the patients’ perspectives of their own health and those of their health care professionals.5 To promote successful clinician–patient partnerships and shared decision making, we need to understand patients’ priorities and perceived needs and deal with the areas where these do not align with current…