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•Undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) is an autoimmune disease that presents similarly to other rheumatic conditions but fails to meet laboratory requirements which indicate a specific disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematous, Sjogren's or scleroderma.

•UCTD presentation can include arthralgias, myalgias, fatigue, fever, Raynaud’s phenomenon and sicca like symptoms with a positive antinuclear antibody (ANA) test.

•Patients with UCTD symptoms are normally referred to rheumatology but a shortage exists leaving primary care providers to treat UCTD patients.

•Using disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as hydroxychloroquine is an option but it is not commonly prescribed by PCPs.

•The study’s purpose is to determine if PCPs can effectively initiate and appropriately manage UCTD patients using DMARDs, such as hydroxychloroquine, to reduce the patient’s symptoms and functional impairment.

•Using DMARDs, NSAIDs and low dose corticosteroids in UCTD patients provided by PCPs can improve arthralgias, myalgias, fever, and functional limitations.

•Majority of rheumatologists and PCPs feel UCTD patients should be referred to rheumatology for treatment, yet there is some evidence that PCPs can also initiate and manage the treatment effectively.

•In the absence of rheumatology, PCPs using DMARDs such as hydroxychloroquine can safely and effectively provide treatment for these patients


Physician Assistant Studies

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Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

Publication Date



Arthritis; Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease; Undifferentiated Systemic Rheumatic Disease; Inflammatory Joint Disease; Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs; hydroxychloroquine


Medical Sciences

Treatment of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease by Primary Care Providers Using csDMARDs