Purpose: To review the current management of the inflammatory arthritides, including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. This review examines the role of the nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA) in the management of these chronic diseases.
Data sources: A review of the scientific literature and current guidelines regarding the management of inflammatory arthritides.
Conclusions: NPs and PAs play important roles in the interdisciplinary team involved in the treatment of patients with chronic inflammatory arthritic conditions. The management of inflammatory arthritides has evolved with the development of new treatment strategies and is focused on early intervention and minimizing progressive joint damage. NPs and PAs are ideally positioned to educate patients regarding treatment options and other important aspects of the disease process and to monitor disease activity using a number of validated instruments.
Implications for practice: Through active disease management, NPs and PAs can influence their patients to make better, more informed choices regarding treatment, which may optimize patient outcomes.