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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Jan;48(1):57-60. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ken406. Epub 2008 Nov 4.

Contemporary patterns of care and disease activity outcome in early rheumatoid arthritis: the ERAN cohort.

Author information

1
Department of Rheumatology, St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To report from the Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Network (ERAN), time from symptom onset to start of therapy, treatment choices and disease outcome in early RA.

METHODS:

Patients with newly diagnosed RA were prospectively enrolled from 19 centres in the UK and Eire. Standardized information was collected on case report forms at first presentation, 3-6 months, 1 yr and annually thereafter. The choice and intensity of drug treatment was left to the discretion of individual centres.

RESULTS:

A total of 808 patients were recruited between 2002 and 2007, with a mean follow-up of 16 (0-60) months. Of them, 62% fulfilled four or more ACR criteria for RA at first visit. The median time from onset of symptoms to referral to secondary care was 4 months [interquartile range (IQR) 2-9, n = 655] and to start of first DMARD 8 months (IQR 4-13, n = 638). DMARDs were prescribed in 97% of the patients, initially as monotherapy in 91%, and as combination therapy in 9%. The second DMARD (n = 220) was a switch to another as monotherapy in 52% and step-up to combination therapy in 48%. The proportions with a 28-joint disease activity score >5.1 at baseline and 3 yrs were 46 and 19%, >3.2 were 84 and 54% and <2.6 were 6 and 33%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients presenting with RA in ERAN do not receive DMARDs promptly, largely due to delays in referral to secondary care. Contemporary treatment practice is to start with DMARD monotherapy, and to use combination DMARDs as second-line therapy in approximately half of them. Over 3 yrs the proportion of patients continuing to have active disease remains high.

PMID:
18984608
DOI:
10.1093/rheumatology/ken406
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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