ABSTRACT: To measure the level of agreement and application of 10 international recommendations for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to a target of remission/low disease activity.
A 10-point Likert scale (1=fully disagree, 10=fully agree) measured the level of agreement with each of 10 recommendations. A 4-point Likert scale (never, not very often, very often, always) assessed the degree to which each recommendation was being applied in current daily practice. If respondents answered 'never' or 'not very often', they were asked whether they would change their practice according to the particular recommendation.
A total of 1901 physicians representing 34 countries participated. Both agreement with and application of recommendations was high. With regard to application of recommendations in daily practice, the majority of responses were 'always' and 'very often'. A significant percentage of participants who were currently not applying these recommendations in clinical practice were willing to change their practice according to the recommendations.
The results of this survey demonstrated great support of 'Treating RA to Target' recommendations among the international rheumatology community. Additional efforts may be needed to encourage application of the recommendations among certain clinicians who are resistant to changing their practice.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 07/2011; 70(11):1999-2002. · 8.11 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To summarise existing evidence on a target oriented approach for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment.
We conducted a systematic literature search including all clinical trials testing clinical, functional, or structural values of a targeted treatment approach. Our search covered Medline, Embase and Cochrane databases until December 2008 and also conference abstracts (2007, 2008).
The primary search yielded 5881 citations; after the selection process, 76 papers underwent detailed review. Of these, only seven strategic clinical trials were extracted: four studies randomised patients to routine or targeted treatment, two compared two different randomised targets and one compared targeted treatment to a historical control group. Five trials dealt with early RA patients. All identified studies showed significantly better clinical outcomes of targeted approaches than routine approaches. Disability was reported in two studies with no difference between groups. Four studies compared radiographic outcomes, two showing significant benefit of the targeted approach.
Only few studies employed randomised controlled settings to test the value of treatment to a specific target. However, they provided unanimous evidence for benefits of targeted approaches. Nevertheless, more data on radiographic and functional outcomes and on patients with established RA are needed.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 04/2010; 69(4):638-43. · 8.11 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Aiming at therapeutic targets has reduced the risk of organ failure in many diseases such as diabetes or hypertension. Such targets have not been defined for rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
/st> To develop recommendations for achieving optimal therapeutic outcomes in RA.
A task force of rheumatologists and a patient developed a set of recommendations on the basis of evidence derived from a systematic literature review and expert opinion; these were subsequently discussed, amended and voted upon by >60 experts from various regions of the world in a Delphi-like procedure. Levels of evidence, strength of recommendations and levels of agreement were derived.
The treat-to-target activity resulted in 10 recommendations. The treatment aim was defined as remission with low disease activity being an alternative goal in patients with long-standing disease. Regular follow-up (every 1-3 months during active disease) with appropriate therapeutic adaptation to reach the desired state within 3 to a maximum of 6 months was recommended. Follow-up examinations ought to employ composite measures of disease activity which include joint counts. Additional items provide further details for particular aspects of the disease. Levels of agreement were very high for many of these recommendations (> or =9/10).
The 10 recommendations are supposed to inform patients, rheumatologists and other stakeholders about strategies to reach optimal outcomes of RA based on evidence and expert opinion.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 03/2010; 69(4):631-7. · 8.11 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Therapeutic approaches to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have undergone significant changes. The importance of tight control and early treatment, rapidly altered if goals are not achieved, is supported by evidence. However, it is unknown to what extent these insights are accepted by practitioners in clinical practice.
To obtain information about standard follow-up and treatment practices, and rheumatologists' aims in the care of patients with RA.
A survey conducted at the 2008 EULAR Congress.
Most specialists, who were mainly from Europe and Latin America, were well-informed about recent concepts: two-thirds specified remission as a major goal. The experts attempted to reach treatment aims within 12-14 weeks, altering treatment otherwise. Disease activity assessment by composite measures is performed by a majority, although one-third preferentially relied upon their judgment.
These results suggest the acceptance of ambitious treatment concepts in practice. Although voluntary surveys have limitations, the answers reflect widespread adoption of desirable standards of care.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 05/2009; 69(3):575-8. · 8.11 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Etanercept and methotrexate are effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis but no data exist on concurrent initiation or use of the combination compared with either drug alone. We aimed to assess combination treatment with etanercept and methotrexate versus the monotherapies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
In a double-blind, randomised, clinical efficacy, safety, and radiographic study, 686 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis were randomly allocated to treatment with etanercept 25 mg (subcutaneously twice a week), oral methotrexate (up to 20 mg every week), or the combination. Clinical response was assessed by criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). The primary efficacy endpoint was the numeric index of the ACR response (ACR-N) area under the curve (AUC) over the first 24 weeks. The primary radiographic endpoint was change from baseline to week 52 in total joint damage and was assessed with the modified Sharp score. Analysis was by intention to treat.
Four patients did not receive any drug; thus 682 were studied. ACR-N AUC at 24 weeks was greater for the combination group compared with etanercept alone and methotrexate alone (18.3%-years [95% CI 17.1-19.6] vs 14.7%-years [13.5-16.0], p<0.0001, and 12.2%-years [11.0-13.4], p<0.0001; respectively). The mean difference in ACR-N AUC between combination and methotrexate alone was 6.1 (95% CI 4.5-7.8, p<0.0001) and between etanercept and methotrexate was 2.5 (0.8-4.2, p=0.0034). The combination was more efficacious than methotrexate or etanercept alone in retardation of joint damage (mean total Sharp score -0.54 [95% CI -1.00 to -0.07] vs 2.80 [1.08 to 4.51], p<0.0001, and 0.52 [-0.10 to 1.15], p=0.0006; respectively). The mean difference in total Sharp score between combination and methotrexate alone was -3.34 (95% CI -4.86 to -1.81, p<0.0001) and between etanercept and methotrexate was -27 (-3.81 to -0.74, p=0.0469). The number of patients reporting infections or adverse events was similar in all groups.
The combination of etanercept and methotrexate was significantly better in reduction of disease activity, improvement of functional disability, and retardation of radiographic progression compared with methotrexate or etanercept alone. These findings bring us closer to achievement of remission and repair of structural damage in rheumatoid arthritis.
The Lancet 02/2004; 363(9410):675-81. · 38.28 Impact Factor