Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Adherence to a treat-to-target strategy in early rheumatoid arthritis: results of the DREAM remission induction cohort

Marloes Vermeer12*, Hillechiena H Kuper2, Hein J Bernelot Moens3, Monique Hoekstra4, Marcel D Posthumus5, Piet LCM van Riel6 and Mart AFJ van de Laar12

Author affiliations

1 Arthritis Center Twente, Department of Psychology, Health and Technology, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands

2 Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Medisch Spectrum Twente, PO Box 50000, 7500 KA Enschede, The Netherlands

3 Department of Rheumatology, Ziekenhuisgroep Twente, PO Box 546, 7550 AM Hengelo, The Netherlands

4 Department of Rheumatology, Isala Klinieken, PO Box 10500, 8000 GM Zwolle, The Netherlands

5 Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Groningen, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands

6 Department of Rheumatology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R254  doi:10.1186/ar4099

Published: 23 November 2012

Abstract

Introduction

Clinical trials have demonstrated that treatment-to-target (T2T) is effective in achieving remission in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the concept of T2T has not been fully implemented yet and the question is whether a T2T strategy is feasible in daily clinical practice. The objective of the study was to evaluate the adherence to a T2T strategy aiming at remission (Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) < 2.6) in early RA in daily practice. The recommendations regarding T2T included regular assessment of the DAS28 and advice regarding DAS28-driven treatment adjustments.

Methods

A medical chart review was performed among a random sample of 100 RA patients of the DREAM remission induction cohort. At all scheduled visits, it was determined whether the clinical decisions were compliant to the T2T recommendations.

Results

The 100 patients contributed to a total of 1,115 visits. The DAS28 was available in 97.9% (1,092/1,115) of the visits, of which the DAS28 was assessed at a frequency of at least every three months in 88.3% (964/1,092). Adherence to the treatment advice was observed in 69.3% (757/1,092) of the visits. In case of non-adherence when remission was present (19.5%, 108/553), most frequently medication was tapered off or discontinued when it should have been continued (7.2%, 40/553) or treatment was continued when it should have been tapered off or discontinued (6.2%, 34/553). In case of non-adherence when remission was absent (42.1%, 227/539), most frequently medication was not intensified when an intensification step should have been taken (34.9%, 188/539). The main reason for non-adherence was discordance between disease activity status according to the rheumatologist and DAS28.

Conclusions

The recommendations regarding T2T were successfully implemented and high adherence was observed. This demonstrates that a T2T strategy is feasible in RA in daily clinical practice.