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


Activity 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.

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

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

Faculty: Yousaf Ali, MD, FACR


Learning 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´┐Ż 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.



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.


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


  • Read the learning objectives 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 online activity. You may view this is in more than one session, and may pause or repeat any portion of the presentation if you need to.
  • Minimum participation threshold: Take the post-test. A score of 70% or higher is required to pass and proceed to the activity evaluation.
  • Complete the activity evaluation and CME registration. A CE certificate will be emailed to you immediately.

Cultural and Linguistic Competence

System Requirements

Windows 7 or above
Internet Explorer 8
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Mac OS 10.2.8
Safari or Chrome or Firefox
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Internet Explorer is not supported on the Macintosh

*Required to view Printable PDF Version

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.

Additional Courses That Are Related To This Activity

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