Looking for rheumatic disease types, treatments, and associated rheumatology definitions? From abatacept to WOMAC, learn about common terms related to arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Looking for information about MACRA? See MACRA terms and definitions.


Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS)

Group of rare, inherited, autoinflammatory diseases with the same genetic basis and overlapping symptomatology: familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome, Muckle-Wells syndrome, and neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (also called chronic infantile neurologic cutaneous articular syndrome).

Cutaneous vasculitis

Acute form of vasculitis that may affect the skin only, but also may involve other organs, with a polymorphonuclear infiltrate in the walls of surrounding small (dermal) vessels.

Cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibody test

May be ordered along with or following a rheumatoid factor test to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to assess the severity and probable course of the disease. CCP antibody may also be ordered to help evaluate the likely development of RA in people with undifferentiated arthritis – those whose symptoms suggest but do not yet meet the ACR criteria for RA.

Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2)

Protein complex that catalyzes two steps in prostaglandin biosynthesis.

Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)

Type of drug called an alkylating agent that is also used as an immunosuppressant to treat autoimmune diseases such as severe, refractory rheumatoid arthritis. Also used to treat severe complications of lupus, myositis, scleroderma, and vasculitis. It was first developed as a cancer drug. Blocks the production of DNA inside certain types of cells, including immune cells. The cells then die, and they can no longer play a role in certain autoimmune diseases. May have severe side effects, including nausea and vomiting, and may also increase the risk of certain infections, such as herpes zoster or shingles.

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Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf)

Used to prevent organ rejection in people who have received a liver, kidney, or heart transplant. It is usually taken along with other medications to allow the new organ to function normally. Also used to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and a certain skin condition (severe psoriasis). Belongs to a class of drugs known as immunosuppressants, and works by slowing down the body’s defense system (immune system) to prevent the body from rejecting a transplanted organ, further damaging the joints (in RA patients), or further damaging the skin (in psoriasis patients). For the treatment of psoriasis or arthritis, it is generally used to treat people who cannot take other medications or have not found relief from other treatments.


Any of numerous hormone-like, low-molecular-weight proteins, secreted by various cell types, that regulate the intensity and duration of immune response and mediate cell-cell communication.

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