Objectives To compare the efficacy of disease activity score in 28 joints (DAS28ESR)-driven therapy with anti-tumour necrosis factor (patients from the GUEPARD trial) and routine care in patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (patients of the ESPOIR cohort).
Results After matching GUEPARD and ESPOIR patients on the basis of a propensity score and a 1:2 ratio, at baseline all patients had comparable demographic characteristics, rheumatoid factor, anticyclic citrullinated peptide antibody positivity and clinical disease activity parameters: erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, mean DAS (6.26±0.87), Sharp/van der Heijde radiographic score (SHS), health assessment questionnaire (HAQ). Disease duration was longer in GUEPARD patients (5.6±4.6 vs 3.5±2.0 months, p<0.001). After 1 year, the percentage of patients in remission with an HAQ (<0.5) and an absence of radiological progression was higher in the tight control group (32.3% vs 10.2%, p=0.011) as well as the percentage of patients in low DAS with an HAQ (<0.5) and an absence of radiological progression (36.1% vs 18.9%, p=0.045). However, there was no difference in the decrease in DAS, nor in the percentage of EULAR (good and moderate), ACR20, ACR50 and ACR70 responses. More patients in the tight control group had an HAQ below 0.5 (70.2% vs 45.2%, p=0.005). Overall, pain, patient and physician assessment and fatigue decreased more in the tight control group. The mean SHS progression was similar in the two groups as was the percentage of patients without progression.
Conclusions In patients with recent onset active rheumatoid arthritis, a tight control of disease activity allows more patients to achieve remission without disability and radiographic progression.
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Competing interests None.
Funding This work was supported by an unrestricted grant of Abbott. An unrestricted grant from Merck Sharp and Dohme was allocated for the first 5 years of the ESPOIR cohort. Two additional grants from INSERM were obtained to support part of the biological database. The French Society of Rheumatology, Abbott, Amgen and Wyeth also supported the ESPOIR cohort study.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ESPOIR central ethics committee of Montpellier and the GUEPARD central ethics committee of Cochin, Paris.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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