Abstract

Aim: We aimed to assess the evolution in a group of patients diagnosed with early arthritis, by using clinical outcome measures and to find possible predictors for the clinical response. Methods: The study was conducted in the Rheumatology Department between January 2010 - December 2011. Thirty-six patients between 18-75 years of age with arthritis of at least one peripheral joint less then 12 months duration were consecutively included; other definite causes for arthritis were clinically excluded. The visits were performed at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months. Clinical examination and biological investigations related to the disease activity were performed. Clinical remission and the EULAR (“European League Against Rheumatism”) response criteria were assessed based on the disease activity score 28 (DAS28). Results: At baseline 91.67% of patients received treatment indication with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs. A significant decrease in the number of tender, swollen joints, erythrocyte sedimentation rate was obtained at 3 months (p<0.001). The mean DAS28 decreased from 5.02±1.31 at baseline to 3.54±1.36 at 3 months (p<0.001). At 3 months, 33.3% of patients were good and 50% moderate responders (p<0.001), while at 6 months 47.2% were good and 33.3% moderate responders (p<0.001). Remission and low disease activity were achieved by 47.2% of patients at 3 and 12 months. Conclusions: A rapid response to treatment was obtained at 3 months. Low disease activity and remission were achieved by almost a half of patients at each visit. The favorable response rate was preserved at 6 and 12 months of follow-up.

Keywords

Early arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Disease activity, Clinical remission, Methotrexate