April 13, 2022

Basic Guide to Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

Specialty Infusion Blog Jess

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body’s immune system is fighting against itself. Immunity is the body’s natural defense against a foreign intruder, such as a virus, bacterium, or damage. Chronic inflammation is triggered when the immune system is overactive. RA is a kind of arthritis that mostly affects joints, wrists, hands, and knees–but may also harm internal organs, including the circulatory system. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis damages the lining of joints and connective tissue (known as the synovial membrane), leading to swelling that may lead to bone erosion and joint degeneration in the long run.

Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Medical professionals and experts don’t fully understand the condition because of its complicated nature.

Initially, the signs of RA include joint swelling, pain, and stiffness, which often appear gradually and subtly, with symptoms accumulating progressively over weeks to months and worsening over time. In addition, the tiny hand bones (especially those at the base and middle of the fingers), the base of the toes, and the wrists are often affected by RA. According to the Arthritis Foundation, morning stiffness that lasts 30 minutes or more is another sign of RA.

RA is a condition that worsens with time. When RA includes inflammation that cannot be managed, it may spread to other body regions, leading to various serious catastrophic problems that can impact other organs, including the nerves, heart, and lungs, and create considerable long-term damage. Therefore, if you’re having RA symptoms, it’s critical to see your medical professional as soon as possible to get the therapy you need.

Risk factors for RA

Experts and researchers have studied various factors, including environmental and genetic, regarding the risk of developing RA.

The following are the risk factors that increase the chances of RA:


As we know, smoking is harmful to health. Similarly, cigarette smoking leads to the development of RA and may be a risk factor to worsen the disease.


You may suffer from RA at any age, although it becomes more likely as you become older. The chances of getting RA are higher in people more than 60 years of age. 


The occurrence of RA was seen as higher (two-to-three times) in women compared to men.

Genetics/inherited traits

The risk of developing RA is higher in people born with specific genes. These genes may aggravate RA and are commonly known as HLA (human leukocyte antigen) class II genotypes. When persons with these genes are exposed to environmental variables like smoking or obesity, the risk of RA increases.

History of live births

The risk of developing RA is high in women who have never given birth. 

Early Life Exposures

Early childhood events may enhance the likelihood of having RA later in life. According to research studies, children whose moms smoked had a twofold increased chance of developing RA. In addition, children of lower-income parents are more likely to get RA.


Obesity might raise your chances of acquiring RA. Obesity has a role in RA development, as per research. The more overweight a person is, the greater their chance of developing the disease.

Treatments of Rheumatoid Arthritis


Infliximab is a drug mainly prescribed for inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Crohn’s disease. It is a monoclonal anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha antibody used in inflammatory conditions.

In 1998, the FDA initially authorized infliximab as an intravenous injection and sold it under the brand name Remicade. It was prescribed for inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, in conjunction with methotrexate, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease in adults and children, ulcerative colitis in adults and children, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis. The signs and symptoms of inflammatory disorders were reduced by multiple infusions of infliximab and induced remission in individuals who had an unsatisfactory reaction to other first-line therapy for that ailment in clinical studies.


BELIMUMAB (Benlysta) is a soluble B lymphocyte stimulator-binding human monoclonal antibody. Rheumatoid arthritis is not treated with Benlysta. However, it may be used for RA as off-label medicine. (A medicine is used off-label to treat a disease for which it has not been authorized.) Results of limited research show the beneficial effects of Benlysta in the treatment of RA. However, additional investigations are required to confirm these findings.


Simponi (golimumab) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and is a monoclonal antibody derived from human IgG1k. It also treats ankylosing spondylitis. In addition, Simponi is occasionally used in conjunction with a drug called methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall). Simponi works by preventing the body’s immune system from producing a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which causes joint swelling and destruction.

The immune system produces a high amount of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. This may result in joint inflammation, discomfort, and injury. TNF is blocked by anti-TNF medications like golimumab, which reduces inflammation. Golimumab isn’t a painkiller, but it may help you cope with the symptoms of the illness. The improvement in the symptoms may be seen after 8–12 weeks.


The first medicine to target particular B immune cells is Rituxan, which is thought to have a role in inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It was authorized by the FDA two months ago for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who had failed previous biologic therapy. Rituxan is given as an intravenous infusion.

In recent research, Rituxan, in conjunction with the disease-modifying antirheumatic medication (DMARD) methotrexate, improved symptoms in just over half of RA patients.

Individuals who received modest doses of Rituxan reacted just as well as those who received greater doses and adding steroids to the mix did not seem to enhance results.


ORENCIA is a drug used to treat moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and void additional damage to your bones and joints and improve your capacity to do everyday tasks. It is usually used in persons aged 18 and above. ORENCIA might benefit those who aren’t receiving the outcomes they want from other RA medications.

ORENCIA may be taken by adults alone or in combination with other RA therapies such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists, or Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic medications (bDMARDs).


CIMZIA is a prescription medicine used in adults to reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease (CD) in adults who have not been treated sufficiently by traditional therapies. It is a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker. It is recommended to treat rheumatoid arthritis that is moderately to severely active (RA) and Psoriatic arthritis. In addition, CIMZIA is a prescription drug that makes your immune system less effective in fighting infections.