£9.90 GBP, 2 hours

Arthritis is a generic term for inflammatory joint disease. There are various forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis. Arthritis can be a chronic debilitating condition or a transient effect of bacterial or viral infections. As a chronic condition, arthritis is associated with loss of quality of life, disability and, with rheumatoid disease, early death. 

The economic burden of arthritis, in terms of management and loss of productivity due to disability, is high and set to increase with the aging population. Recent advances in our understanding of the causes and progression of a number of forms of arthritis have raised hopes of better management and possible remission. Pharmacotherapy has moved from symptom management to addressing underlying disease processes. However, therapies that prevent or cure arthritis remain elusive. Current care for people with arthritis relies on a multidisciplinary approach and substantial pharmacological intervention. Nurses have a key role to play in guiding patients through treatment, ensuring they receive optimal therapy to reduce the impact of arthritis and its management on their lives.

After completing this online learning activity and quiz you should be able to:

  • Describe current understanding of the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis and outline the actions of drugs used to manage this condition.
  • Discuss causes and consequences of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Describe the actions of the main classes of drugs used to manage rheumatoid arthritis, their risks and benefits.
  • Briefly describe types of spondyloarthritis. 
The PDF accompanying this activity was first published in the June 2015 issue of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand.

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