In a nutshell
This study investigated if remission had any impact on the risk of infection in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
They found that the incidence of serious infection was significantly lower in patients in remission from rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic condition that is caused by the body’s immune system attacking joint tissue. This causes pain, inflammation and tissue degeneration. Treatment for RA involves administering medication that suppresses the body’s immune system. As a result, patients with RA are more likely to develop infections.
When treating a patient with RA, it is ideal to achieve a state of remission. This is when a patient is no longer showing symptoms of RA (although it cannot be fully cured). Remission can be difficult to achieve, so many physicians and patients will aim to reduce the symptoms as much as possible with medication. This state is called low disease activity (LDA).
Methods & findings
This study investigated if the level of disease activity had any impact on the chance of developing a serious infection.
This study included data from 12,329 patients with RA. These patients were grouped based on disease activity: sustained-remission, sustained-LDA, sustained-MHDA (moderate-high disease activity).
Patients with LDA had a greater incidence of serious infection (69%) compared to patients in sustained-remission. Patients with MHDA had a greater incidence compared to LDA patients (30%). Remission and low disease activity is associated with a lower risk of serious infections compared to medium or high disease activity.
The bottom line
This study concluded that the incidence of serious infection was significantly lower in patients in remission from rheumatoid arthritis.
The fine print
This study was funded by a number of pharmaceutical companies. This study population included more than 70% women and the findings may not translate to males.
If you have any concerns regarding rheumatoid arthritis management, please discuss with your doctor.
Published By :
Arthritis Care & Research
Sep 27, 2017
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