Patient perspectives on achieving treat-to-target goals: A critical examination of patient-reported outcomes

Academic Article


  • Objective: Treat-to-target (T2T) recommendations suggest that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients should strive for remission or low disease activity (LDA). However, it is unclear whether patients experiencing a good response to biologic agents might experience further improvement in patient-reported outcomes (PROs) if they subsequently achieve a lower disease activity state, particularly the T2T goals of LDA or remission. Methods: Using the Consortium of Rheumatology Researchers of North America database, we identified RA patients initiating biologic agents. We restricted the analysis to patients with improvement (Clinical Disease Activity Index [CDAI] improvement of ≥10 units) at 3-6 months (baseline visit; n = 1,368) with a followup visit approximately 9 months later (n = 984). Patients in CDAI remission or with a worsened disease activity category were excluded, leaving 562 eligible patients. PROs (global assessment, pain, and fatigue by 0-10 visual analog scales and disability by the modified Health Assessment Questionnaire [M-HAQ]) were examined at these 2 visits. Mean change in PROs compared achievement of a lower disease activity category versus staying in the same disease activity category, adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Patients who achieved a lower disease activity category (40% of the eligible cohort, 86% of these achieving LDA or remission) had significantly better improvement in patient pain (-14.9; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] -18.4, -11.6), patient global (-17.5; 95% CI -20.8, -14.3), fatigue (-8.5; 95% CI -15.8, -1.3), and M-HAQ score (-0.13; 95% CI -0.18, -0.08) compared to patients who stayed in the same disease activity category. However, even for patients improving, fewer than half exceeded the minimum clinically important difference for each PRO. Conclusion: Achievement of a lower disease activity disease state, especially T2T goals, was associated with further improvement in PROs, albeit modest in magnitude. © 2013, American College of Rheumatology.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Curtis JR; Shan Y; Harrold L; Zhang J; Greenberg JD; Reed GW
  • Start Page

  • 1707
  • End Page

  • 1712
  • Volume

  • 65
  • Issue

  • 10