Early and aggressive arthritis treatment recommended

Jun 23, 2010

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) should be used early and aggressively at the first sign of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The results of an 11-year trial, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, demonstrate that active treatment from the very beginning pays off, even in the long run.

Dr Vappu Rantalaiho, from Tampere University Hospital, Finland, worked with a team of researchers to study radiologic progression in 195 patients with RA. She said, "Early therapy with combinations of conventional DMARDs has been shown to retard the radiologic progression of RA for a period of up to 5 years, but until now the effects of initial aggressive DMARD therapy on radiologic prognosis after that were unknown. We've shown that even after 11 years, early and aggressive therapy achieves excellent results for most patients".

For this study, 97 patients were initially randomized to receive a combination of DMARDs (starting with methotrexate, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine with prednisolone; FIN-RACo strategy) and 98 received a single DMARD (initially sulfasalazine with or without prednisolone; SINGLE strategy). After 2 years, the treatment of RA was unrestricted for both groups. Patients treated initially with the FIN-RACo strategy were found to have less radiographic damage in small joints, even in the long term, than those treated initially with DMARD monotherapy.

According to Rantalaiho, "Probably the most important precondition to our excellent results in most patients was the active treatment policy aiming at remission at all time points. Our results emphasize the importance of early remission for long term outcome. In the present study, the patients who were in strict remission at 1 year had significantly less radiologic progression throughout the follow-up than the patients who were not".

Explore further: Walking helps COPD sufferers breathe easy

More information: Early combination disease-modifying antirheumatic drug therapy and tight disease control improve long-term radiologic outcome in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis: the 11-year results of the Finnish Rheumatoid Arthritis Combination Therapy trial, Vappu Rantalaiho, Markku Korpela, Leena Laasonen, Hannu Kautiainen, Salme Järvenpää, Pekka Hannonen, Marjatta Leirisalo-Repo, Harri Blľfield, Kari Puolakka, Anna Karjalainen, Timo Möttönen and the FIN-RACo Trial Group, Arthritis Research & Therapy (in press), arthritis-research.com/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New guidelines for treating rheumatoid arthritis

Jul 22, 2008

Proven combinations of medicines and the introduction of new anti-arthritis drugs have significantly improved the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to guidelines issued by the American College of Rheumatology ...

Rheumatoid arthritis sends many into early retirement

Feb 04, 2008

A joint study on “The Burden of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Patient Access to Treatments” by authors from the Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden), the University of Lund (Sweden) and the Medical University of Vienna (Austria) ...

Latest rheumatoid arthritis drugs compared

Apr 17, 2008

Findings published today in the open access journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders shows that the latest class of drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are better than standard anti-inflammatories.

Recommended for you

Routines most vital in avoiding Ebola infection: WHO

1 hour ago

Meticulously following stringent routines when putting on and removing protective equipment is more important than the kind of gear health care workers use to ward off Ebola infection, the World Health Organization said Friday.

A look at latest Ebola developments

2 hours ago

No African countries are on the United Nations list of contributors to fight Ebola. With few exceptions, African governments and institutions are offering only marginal support as the continent faces its ...

Liberia opens one of largest Ebola treatment centers

2 hours ago

Remembering those who have died in the world's deadliest Ebola outbreak, Liberia's president opened one of the country's largest Ebola treatment centers in Monrovia on Friday amid hopes that the disease is ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.