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Rheumatoid arthritis remission 'leads to continued physical function improvements'

20:00 EDT 10 Aug 2015 | Arthritis Research UK

People with rheumatoid arthritis who achieve sustained clinical remission may benefit from ongoing improvements in terms of physical function, ie the ability to carry out everyday tasks.

A new study led by the Medical University Vienna in Austria has examined this trend, using health assessment questionnaires to assess the functional status of rheumatoid arthritis patients with sustained clinical remission.

Subjects from recent rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials who had achieved clinical remission for 24 weeks or more were selected for the study, in order to see how their physical functions improved during the time they spent in remission.

A total of 610 out of 4,364 patients were found to have met the DAS28 criteria for sustained remission - which analyses disease activity levels at 28 joints -  while 252 met the simplified disease activity index criteria.

According to results published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, significant improvements in physical function were charted in the questionnaire results over the 24 weeks, regardless of the assessment criteria used.

When the DAS28 scale was used, the chance of regaining full physical function was higher for female and early rheumatoid arthritis patients, with no significant differences were found when using the other scale.

The researchers concluded: "Physical function continues to improve if the target of sustained clinical remission or low disease activity is sustained. The stringency of the remission criteria determines achievement of the best possible functional improvement."

A spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK commented: "Inducing and then sustaining clinical remission in people with rheumatoid and other forms of inflammatory arthritis is the ultimate aim of clinicians for their patients, and is becoming increasingly achievable with the raft of new biological therapies now available.

"It follows that people who are in remission from painful symptoms will be able to enjoy a better quality of life, and to carry out everyday tasks and activities."

Original Article: Rheumatoid arthritis remission 'leads to continued physical function improvements'

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