Table 1

 Items included in the questionnaires*

TopicItem(s)Possible answers
*The participants were also asked how many patients with RA and with early RA they see each year.
DefinitionWhat do you regard as early RA?
A. Type of arthritis (at least)A. At least: polyarthritis (>5 joints)/oligoarthritis (2–5 joints)/monarthritis
B. Duration of symptoms (one answer)B. 6 weeks/<3 months/<6 months/ <12 months/other, please specify
Referral timeHow long on average does it take from onset of their symptoms until patients with arthritis are referred to you? (one answer)<6 Weeks/<3 months/<6 months/<12 months/>12 months
Diagnostic approachWhich serological tests do you use in the context of early diagnosis? (several answers)Rheumatoid factor/antinuclear antibodies/antikeratin antibodies /antiperinuclear factor/anti-RA33/anti-CCP (only in 2003)
Follow up of patientsHow often do you see your patients with early arthritis during the first 3 months? (one answer)Every 2 weeks/every month/every 3 months/not at all
TreatmentWhen do you start DMARD treatment in patients with newly diagnosed RA? (one answer)When erosions have occurred/when ACR criteria are fulfilled/when RA is suspected/when NSAIDs have failed <12 months/>6 months/>3 months/other, please specify
In patients with newly diagnosed RA, which DMARDs do you prescribe most commonly? (maximum of two answers)Azathioprine/chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine/chlorambucil/cyclophosphamide/cyclosporin A/d-penicillamine/parenteral gold compounds/oral gold compounds/methotrexate/sulfasalazine/other, please specify The following DMARDs were newly presented in the 2003 questionnaire: leflunomide, infliximab, etanercept, anakinra, adalimumab
Which DMARD do you currently use most in your patients with RA? (please grade as: 1 = very commonly; 5 = not at all)Same DMARDs as above
Do you use glucocorticoids regularly? (several answers possible)Together with NSAIDs/as DMARDs without other DMARDs/together with other DMARDs/usually at <10 mg/day/usually at >10 mg/day/for long periods/as short a period as possible
When do you start glucocorticoids for the first time? (several answers possible)At the time of diagnosis/if DMARDs have failed/as bridging treatment until DMARDs work
Laboratory tests in follow up of RAWhich laboratory tests do you usually ask for when following up your patients with RA? (yes/no, frequency per year)ESR/CRP/serum amyloid A/rheumatoid factor/antinuclear antibodies/complete blood count/chemistry (liver, kidney,…)/others, please specify