impact factor

A. Clinical considerations


Treat-to-target: not as simple as it appears

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2012 Vol.30, N°4 ,Suppl.73
PI 0010, PF 0020
A. Clinical considerations

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PMID: 23072741 [PubMed]

Received: 26/09/2012
Accepted : 26/09/2012
In Press: 16/10/2012
Published: 19/11/2012


Treat-to-target as a strategy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is now widely advocated based on strong evidence. Nonetheless, implementation of treat-to-target raises caveats, as is the case with all clinical care strategies. The target of remission or even low disease activity does not apply to all individual patients, some of whom are affected by concomitant fibromyalgia, other comorbidities, joint damage, and/or who simply prefer to maintain current status and avoid risks of more aggressive therapies. No single universal `target` measure or index exists for all individual RA patients. An emphasis in most studies on radiographic progression, rather than physical function or mortality, as the most important outcome to document the value of treat-to-target may be inappropriate. Many reports imply that the only limitation to treating all RA patients with biological agents involves costs, ignoring effective results in most patients with methotrexate and other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and adverse events associated with biological agents. Indeed, the best outcomes in reported RA clinical trials result from tight control with DMARDs, rather than from biological agents, as does better overall status of RA patients at this time compared to previous decades. Pharmacoeconomic reports may ignore that RA patients are older, less educated, and have more comorbidities than the general population, as well as critical differences in patient status according to the gross domestic product of different countries. While treating to a target of remission or low disease activity, including with biological agents, is appropriate for many patients, awareness of these concerns could improve implementation of treat-to-target for optimal care of all RA patients.

Rheumatology Article