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J Rheumatol. 2007 Feb;34(2):316-21. Epub 2006 Dec 15.

Sustained remission and reduced radiographic progression with combination disease modifying antirheumatic drugs in early rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Jyväskylä Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland. heidi.makinen@ksshp.fi

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study sustainability of remission and good treatment response, and the association of both with radiographic progression, in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the Finnish Rheumatoid Arthritis Combination Therapy trial (FIN-RACo).

METHODS:

Patients were randomized to receive either a combination of disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD; COMBI, n = 97) or a single DMARD (SINGLE, n = 98). Remission was defined according to modified American College of Rheumatology (ACR) remission criteria and Disease Activity Score 28 joint count (DAS28) < or = 2.6, and sustained remission as presence of remission at 6, 12, and 24 months. Good treatment response was defined as DAS28 (3/4) 3.2 and decrease of DAS28 >1.2.

RESULTS:

In 169 patients with complete data, 33 (42%) COMBI and 18 (20%) SINGLE patients achieved modified ACR remission at 2 years, which was sustained in 11 (14%) COMBI and 3 (3%) SINGLE patients. Fifty-four (68%) COMBI and 37 (41%) SINGLE patients were in DAS28 remission at 2 years, which was sustained in 40 (51%) COMBI and 14 (16%) SINGLE patients. Good treatment response was sustained in 67% of COMBI and 27% of SINGLE patients. Over 2 years, the Larsen score increased by a median of 1 (95% CI 0-2) in patients in sustained DAS28 remission compared to 4 (95% CI 2-16) in patients who were in DAS28 remission at 6 months but lost it later; and by 6 (95% CI 2-10) in patients who were not in remission at 6 months.

CONCLUSION:

A remarkable proportion of patients with early RA treated with combinations of DMARD were in remission at 2 years, and remission was more often sustained compared to patients treated with a single DMARD. Sustained remission protects against radiographic joint damage.

PMID:
17183623
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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