Is RA Curable?
It won't ever go away completely, but the right treatment can bring long-term remission.
Rheumatologist Susan M. Goodman, M.D., attending physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, explains how an effective treatment regimen can control RA symptoms and disease progression.
RA isn't really curable. Now by curable, in medicine, we mean you take a course of medication, the way you would take an antibiotic for an infection, at the end of that course of therapy, the illness is gone, the pneumonia is gone, whatever illness is gone. Rheumatoid arthritis can be controlled, and it can be controlled to the point that the patient is unaware of it.
Unfortunately, all of our medications, once we've stopped taking them, the disease tends to come back. It may not come back immediately. It'll typically come back several months after the medications are stopped. The vast majority of patients require ongoing medications, possibly at a lower dose or at less frequent intervals, but some maintenance regimen. It's not really cured, but we certainly can frequently achieve remission, although we need to maintain medications to maintain that.