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Posted by on Jan 18, 2019 in Rheumatoid Arthritis | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated intensive treatment to achieve remission in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They found that intensive treatment was effective at achieving remission.

Some background

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term condition. It is caused by painful inflammation in the joints. To treat RA, patients are prescribed drugs that reduce inflammation. RA cannot be completely cured. Instead, the aim of treatment is to reduce symptoms and joint damage. Drugs used to treat RA are called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Patients that achieve remission have a better quality of life. They also have less disability. Studies suggest that a remission can be achieved using an intensive treatment strategy. This strategy may involve multiple drugs or higher doses. It is unclear if intensive treatment results in higher remission rates in patients with RA.

Methods & findings

This study analyzed data from 53 clinical reports. This included 19,752 patients with early RA (7300) or established RA (12,452). In these reports, the effects of intensive treatment were compared to standard care. RA was assessed using standard RA questionnaires. 

Overall, intensive treatment was 2.23 times more effective than standard care at achieving remission. In early RA, intensive treatment was 56% more effective. In established RA, intensive treatment was 4.21 times more effective. Drugs that block tumor necrosis factor (TNF), biological drugs and DMARDs were the most effective at achieving remission. 

The bottom line

The authors concluded that intensive treatment was effective at achieving remission in patients with both established and early RA.

The fine print

The criteria used to measure remission differed across the studies. Long-term remission was not assessed in this study. 

What’s next?

If you have any concerns regarding RA treatment, please consult with your physician. 

Published By :

BMC musculoskeletal disorders

Date :

Oct 30, 2018

Original Title :
Intensive therapy and remissions in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review.
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