Table 1

Characteristics of the delayed treatment group and the early treatment group

CharacteristicDelayed group (n = 78)Early group (n = 75)p Value
Results are shown as number (%) or median (interquartilerange)
*Defined as at least three of the following criteria: morning stiffness longer than 30 minutes, more than five swollen joints, Ritchie score greater than 15, or ESR greater than 28 mm/1st h; †percentage in relation to baseline ESR; ‡p<0.05 in the delayed treatment group versus those in the early treatment group.
Age (years)57 (44–65)52 (42–68)
Female sex57 (73)51 (68)
Duration of symptoms at first visit (days)171 (93–305)128 (62–246)
Definite rheumatoid arthritis52 (67)51 (68)
Probable rheumatoid arthritis26 (33)24 (32)
Rheumatoid factor positive48 (62)44 (59)
Active disease*33 (42)34 (45)
Time to start disease modifying drug treatment from first visit (days)152 (55–293)15 (14–21)
ESR (mm/1st h)
    At baseline36 (100)29 (100)
    6 Months†36 (100)20 (67)
    1 Year32 (89)13 (45)
    2 Years27 (75)18 (62)
    3 Years24 (67)17 (59)
    4 Years24 (67)17 (59)
DMARD use (patients)
    2 Weeks0 (0)75 (100)
    1 Year42 (54)72 (96)
    2 Years41 (53)70 (93)
    3 Years48 (62)67 (89)
    4 Years49 (63)65 (87)
Cumulative number of DMARDs per person in 4 years1 (0–3)2 (1–3)
Sharp score at baseline0 (0–2)0 (0–3)