Achieving remission in clinical practice: lessons from clinical trial data.
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This review examines the literature on the frequency of remission associated with different treatment approaches in early rheumatoid arthritis (ERA). Trials reporting remission outcomes were identified through searches of the CINAHL, EMBASE, and Medline (PubMed) databases from 2000 through August 2012. Additional literature was identified through hand searching. The proportion of patients achieving remission and/or radiographic non-progression was extracted from each study. Evidence was examined in the context of unified remission criteria and practical considerations for achieving and maintaining remission are discussed. The literature highlights the benefits of early treatment with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) combination therapy, combination therapy with a biologic, and tight control with a pre-specified treatment target in achieving remission in ERA. The added stringency of the 2011 remission criteria may increase the proportion of patients achieving true remission, while identifying predictors of sustained remission may also help patients achieve better radiographic and functional outcomes.
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