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Early treatment of RA with DMARDs promotes sustained remission

Key clinical point: Early response to treatment with conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may predict sustained disease-free remission within 4 months in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who were negative for anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA).

Major finding: ACPA-negative RA patients who achieved sustained disease-free remission showed significantly greater declines in Disease Activity Score within the first 4 months of treatment compared to those patients who did not achieve sustained disease-free remission (-1.73 units vs. 1.07 units, P < .001).

Study details: The data come from 772 consecutive RA patients who were treated early in their disease with conventional synthetic DMARDs, mainly methotrexate. The researchers used a regression analysis to assess the relationship between early decline in disease activity within 4 months and disease-free remission within 7 years.

Disclosures: The study was funded in part by the Dutch Arthritis Foundation and the European Research Council. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.


Verstappen M et al. Arthritis Res Ther. 2020;22:276. doi: 10.1186/s13075-020-02368-9.