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CME: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) : Therapeutic Updates and Optimizing Treatment


Program Description / Statement of Need:

In this online CME self-learning program:


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder in which joints, typically those in the hands and feet, become inflamed, swollen, painful, and stiff. Without appropriate treatment, the inflammation may become chronic and cause irreversible destruction of bone and cartilage in the affected joints as well as contribute to the development of clinically important co-morbid conditions with attendant morbidity and mortality. The National Arthritis Data Workgroup estimates that about 1.3 million U.S. adults (0.6% of the adult population) have RA. RA imposes a considerable disease burden. Patients with RA have substantially lower health-related quality of life (QOL) than the general population with lower overall scores for physical and mental health across all age groups. The RA disease burden also is associated with increased health care resource utilization. Notably, RA patients with low QOL are twice as likely to be hospitalized as RA patients with high QOL.


The revised 2010 ACR/European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Diagnostic Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis expanded the number of potential patients eligible for RA treatment. Moreover, guidelines governing the treatment of RA have been updated fairly recently. The literature suggests that practicing healthcare professionals are oftentimes unable to keep up with the steady publishing of literature and evolution of clinical practice, and awareness of professional guidelines is no exception.  Recently published guidelines therefore also inherently suggest a gap in medical practice and justify the need for educational programming.




  • Faculty introduction, disclosures
  • Precourse cases
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: epidemiology
  • ACR 1987 vs. 2010 with supporting illustrations
  • Biomarkers
  • Rheumatoid factor in nonrheumatic diseases
  • Prognosis, progression, and impact
  • Treatment standard: early aggressive treatment
  • Goals of RA management
  • Clinical spectrum and costs of RA
  • Cytokine disequilibrium and mechanisms of RA therapies
  • Extent of joint damage and changing approaches to care
  • Traditional treatment pyramid for RA: sequential drug therapy
  • Evidence for changing medical practice over the last three to four decades: early referral, diagnosis, and treatment in RA
  • ACR treatment algorithm and 2015 guidelines for RA
  • Measures of RA disease activity, and persistent disease activity with
  • traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in Patients
  • Probability of continuing and reasons for discontinuing DMARDs
  • Biologic agents and highlights concerning their efficacy, adverse effects, administration, and mechanisms of action
  • Patient case
  • Summary


Target Audience:

Rheumatologists and primary care physicians; physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and pharmacists who practice in rheumatology; and any other healthcare professionals with an interest in or who clinically encounter patients with RA.

Program Objectives:

By the end of the session the participant will be able to:

    • Describe the pathophysiology of RA such that it might inform treatment mechanisms.
    • Describe strengths of different professional organizations’ guidance in RA and treatment.
    • Identify the currently available and emerging pharmacotherapeutic treatments for management of RA and apply them to patient cases using evidence-based medicine.
    • Evaluate a treatment plan for a specific patient with RA to optimize safety and efficacy, suggesting modifications for improvement, including the management of comorbidities.
    • Describe the challenges and barriers to care associated with treating patients with RA.


    This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through ScientiaCME. ScientiaCME is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


    Credit Designation: ScientiaCME designates this educational activity for a maximum of  1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.




    ScientiaCME is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmaceutical education. This program is approved for 1.0 hours (0.1 CEUs) of continuing education.  Proof of participation will be posted to your NABP CPE profile within 4 to 6 weeks to participants who have successfully completed the post-test.   Participants must participate in the entire presentation and complete the course evaluation to receive continuing pharmacy education credit.  ACPE # 0574-0000-16-021-H01-P.  ACPE Accreditation effective 12/13/16, expires 12/13/18. This is a Knowledge (K)-type activity.

    Release Date: December 13, 2016
    Expiration Date: December 13, 2018

    Faculty: Yousaf Ali MD, FACR

    Faculty Disclosure and Resolution of COI:

    As a provider of continuing medical education, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all of its educational activities. In accordance with this policy, faculty and educational planners must disclose any significant relationships with commercial interests whose products or devices may be mentioned in faculty presentations, and any relationships with the commercial supporter of the activity. The intent of this disclosure is to provide the intended audience with information on which they can make their own judgments. Additionally, in the event a conflict of interest (COI) does exist, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure that the COI is resolved in order to ensure the integrity of the CME activity. For this CME activity, any COI has been resolved thru content review ScientiaCME.


    Faculty Disclosure: Dr. Ali, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has no relevant financial disclosures.


    Disclosures of Educational Planners: Charles Turck, PharmD has no relevent financial disclosures.

    Additional Courses That Are Related To This Course

    Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Optimizing Pharmacotherapeutic Management Strategies

    Psoriasis: Best Practices, Barriers to Care, and Emerging Therapies in Medication Management

    Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) : Therapeutic Updates and Optimizing Treatment

    Psoriatic Arthritis: Therapeutic Updates and Optimizing Treatment


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    -Read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures above

    -Take the Pre-Test (optional). Completion of the pre-test will help us evaluate the knowedge gained by participating in this CME activity.

    -View the on-line program. You may view this is in more than one session, and may pause or repeat any portion of the presentation if you need to.

    -Take the post-test

    -Complete the program evaluation and CME registration. A CE certificate will be emailed to you.

    Perform Pre-Test (optional)
    Please take a few minutes to participate in the optional pre-test. It will help us measure the knowledge gained by participating in this activity.

    Download the Presentation (optional)


    View the online program


    Perform Post-Test

    Complete the Symposium Evaluation and Request CE Certificate

Commercial Support Disclosure: This program is supported by an educational grant from Mallinckdrodt.


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