As an emerging research direction, nanomedicine has been increasingly utilized to treat inflammatory diseases. In this head-to-head comparison study, four established nanomedicine formulations of dexamethasone, including liposomes (L-Dex), core-cross-linked micelles (M-Dex), slow releasing polymeric prodrugs (P-Dex-slow), and fast releasing polymeric prodrugs (P-Dex-fast), were evaluated in an adjuvant-induced arthritis rat model with an equivalent dose treatment design. It was found that after a single i.v. injection, the formulations with the slower drug release kinetics (i.e., M-Dex and P-Dex-slow) maintained longer duration of therapeutic activity than those with relatively faster drug release kinetics, resulting in better joint protection. This finding will be instructional in the future development and optimization of nanomedicines for the clinical management of rheumatoid arthritis. The outcome of this study also illustrates the value of such head-to-head comparison studies in translational nanomedicine research.