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Tight control in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: efficacy and feasibility


Objective: To evaluate the available evidence on the efficacy and feasibility of the new concept of tight control in randomised trials in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Tight control is a treatment strategy tailored to the individual patient with RA, which aims to achieve a predefined level of low disease activity or remission within a certain period of time.

Methods: The literature database PubMed was searched and yielded four trials: the FIN-RACo trial, the TICORA study, the BeSt study and the CAMERA study.

Results: Tight control resulted in greater improvement and a higher percentage of patients meeting the preset aim of low disease activity or remission when compared to the control intervention. In the FIN-RACo trial, aimed at DAS28<2.6, 51% of patients in the tight control group achieved remission versus 16% in the contrast group (p<0.001). In the TICORA study, 65% of patients in the tight control group versus 16% of the contrast group achieved remission, based on DAS<1.6 (p<0.0001). In the CAMERA study, 50% of patients in the tight control group using a computer decision model achieved remission, versus 37% in the contrast group (p = 0.029). The BeSt study consisted of only tight control groups aimed at a DAS<1.6; remission was achieved in 38–46% of patients. This is higher than the range of remission in earlier trials of 13–36%.

Conclusion: Tight control aiming for low disease activity or even better still, remission, seems a promising option in treating patients with RA in clinical trials and probably also in daily practice.

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    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and European League Against Rheumatism