RA: 20-y data support early treatment

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Takeaway

  • Prompt treatment after symptoms begin appears to benefit RA patients even many years after diagnosis.

Why this matters

  • Because of recent advances in RA treatment options, including a shift toward early treatment (ET), new data on long-term outcomes are needed.

Key results

  • ET and late treatment (LT) groups had lower mortality risk vs no treatment (NT), but age- and sex-adjusted mortality rates were similar among all groups.
  • Over time, ET group and NT group had similar disability levels, whereas LT group had higher.
  • 20-y average HAQ score was 1.38, representing low to moderate disability—an improvement vs an earlier study that measured a cohort recruited in the 1960s.

Study design

  • The researchers assessed 602 RA patients who joined the prospective Norfolk (UK) Arthritis Register between 1990 ...