Predictors of sustained remission in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis treated according to an aggressive treat-to-target protocol


Objectives: To study prognostic factors for achievement of sustained remission in early RA patients receiving semi-personalized tight controlled treatment, and to assess the consistency of potential predictors across definitions of sustained remission. Methods: DMARD-naïve early RA patients with symptom duration textless2 years were treated according to a pre-defined algorithm within the Aiming for Remission in rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised trial examining the benefit of ultrasound in a Clinical TIght Control regimen trial. The algorithm allowed treatment adjustments based on established risk factors for a worse outcome. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine baseline predictors of achieving sustained DAS remission at 16-24 months, and to assess predictors of secondary remission outcomes (all sustained 16-24 months): ACR/EULAR Boolean, Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI), no swollen joints and a composite outcome of DAS remission, no swollen joints and no radiographic progression. Results: Of 222 patients, 118 (53%) reached sustained DAS remission, while 53 (24%) reached sustained ACR/EULAR Boolean and 73 (33%) sustained SDAI remission. More joint tenderness, assessed by Ritchie Articular Index, was a negative predictor of reaching sustained DAS remission (odds ratio (OR) = 0.90/U, 95% CI: 0.86, 0.94), sustained ACR/EULAR Boolean remission (OR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.86, 0.98), sustained SDAI remission (OR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.90, 1.00) as well as the two alternative definitions of sustained remission. Short symptom duration at baseline predicted sustained Boolean and SDAI remission. Other identified predictors were inconsistent across outcomes. Conclusion: A higher tender joint score at baseline consistently reduced the chance of reaching sustained remission across all definitions. Our results support sustained remission as an achievable goal in early RA, especially when initiating DMARDs within 3 months symptom duration. Trial registration:,, NCT01205854.

Rheumatology (Oxford, England)