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Early treatment key to rheumatoid arthritis remission

By Alisdair Stirling

Early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis results in a rapid reduction of symptoms, new research reports.

US researchers analysed data from 17,424 rheumatoid arthritis patients from the CORRONA registry, a prospective observational cohort of patients with arthritis.

Of 1,646 patients given non-biological disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, remission - as measured by a Clinical Disease Activity Index score of less than or equal to 2.8 - occurred in 21.3% of those with up to five years disease duration, in 19.6% with 6-10 years and in 13.5% with up to 11 years duration. Sustained remission occurred in 10.2%, 8.8% and 2.5% respectively.

Results were similar among the 3,179 patients receiving anti-TNF agents: remission in 22.3%, 17.7%, and 12.8% respectively and sustained remission in 9.7%, 9.5% and 4.2% respectively. Joint disease activity score results were similar in both groups.

Lead researcher Dr Daniel Furst, chair of rheumatology at the UCLA medical center for health sciences said: ‘The data add further weight to the evidence that early and aggressive treatment of RA is an appropriate strategy in order to achieve remission as soon as possible after the onset of the disease.'

Arthritis Care & Research published online 18 Feb 2011


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