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J Rheumatol. 2007 Aug;34(8):1670-3. Epub 2007 Jul 1.

Good clinical response, remission, and predictors of remission in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockers: the GISEA study.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.

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  • J Rheumatol. 2007 Sep;34(9):1947.



To assess the prevalence of good clinical response and remission in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with longstanding disease treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) drugs at outpatient clinics.


Retrospective national study of 14 academic tertiary referral rheumatology medical centers. RA patients with a Disease Activity Score (DAS28) > 3.2 were defined as having active disease and could start TNF-alpha blockers. All patients received one TNF-alpha blocker plus methotrexate (10-20 mg/wk). At the third month the patients were categorized as responders or nonresponders, based on improvement of at least 0.25 of the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). Those who had improved by at least 0.25 HAQ were analyzed for possible predictors of DAS28 remission at the sixth month.


A total of 1257 patients started TNF-alpha blockers. Of these, 591 (46.7%) reached the sixth month with an improvement of HAQ of 0.25 at the third month. In the cohort of patients reaching HAQ of 0.25, DAS28 remission was seen in 24% of rheumatoid factor (RF)-positive and 36% of RF-negative patients (p = 0.03). Logistic regression analysis for predictors of remission identified age at baseline, HAQ < 1.63, and RF negativity as positive predictors of remission at 6 months along with sex (male).


We show that only a minority of patients with longstanding RA achieve a good clinical response or remission at the outpatient community level. Predictors of remission identify characteristics commonly observed in subsets with less severe RA.

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