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Sunday 15 September 2019
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Early diagnosis

Early diagnosis in rheumatoid arthritis is pivotal but can be challenging


The diverse and overlapping symptoms that can be present in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can make diagnosis challenging.1-4

It is well established that early, appropriate, treatment may prevent joint erosion and possibly halt disease progression. However, up to 40% of patients are first misdiagnosed.5,6

Reliable testing can help to:

  • Determine if referral to a specialist is appropriate
  • Ensure effective and timely treatment
  • Improve patient outcomes


Rheumatoid factor (RF) IgM
Recommended as 1st line test in ACR/EULAR criteria7

Decreased titres are associated with a positive
treatment response to methotrexate, parenteral gold
and TNFα inhibitors8-16
Anti-CCP antibodies
Detectable years before onset of RA symptoms17
Very sensitive and highly specific in early RA18
Associated with severe disease in early RA17,19
Elevated RF IgA to monitor disease activity
Correlates with disease activity20-22
Indicates poor response to TNF-α inhibitors23
Provides valuable prognostic guidance