1970-2000 The largest separate unit
In the 1970s the main medicines for rheumatism were gold injections, chloroquine and cortisone. Newcomers in the market included D-penicillamine and gold tablets. Sulfasalazine, azathioprine, chlorambucil and methotrexate were well-known anti-arthritis medicines, but their use was scarce due to their serious side effects. New anti-inflammatory painkillers were also launched into the market.
Medical treatments for rheumatism continued in the same mode in the 1980s. It was stated that sulfasalazine also appeared to have a favourable effect on ankylosing spondylitis and the use of azathioprine and methotrexate was increased. Combination treatments of medications that were separately used before yielded positive outcomes for the first time.
The concurrent use of two or more medications for rheumatoid arthritis treatment, i.e. combination treatment, established their position in the 1990s and treatment outcomes improved significantly. Treatment periods became shorter.
The combination treatments have strengthened their position in the 21st century. New products, so called biologic drugs or targeted drugs, have radically changed the prognosis of these diseases. They are taken into use if conventional, earlier administered medications have not yielded desired treatment outcomes.