Treating rheumatoid arthritis to target: Recommendations of an international task force

Josef S. Smolen, Daniel Aletaha, Johannes W J Bijlsma, Ferdinand C. Breedveld, Dimitrios Boumpas, Gerd Burmester, Bernard Combe, Maurizio Cutolo, Maarten De Wit, Maxime Dougados, Paul Emery, Alan Gibofsky, Juan Jesus Gomez-Reino, Boulos Haraoui, Joachim Kalden, Edward C. Keystone, Tore K. Kvien, Iain McInnes, Emilio Martin-Mola, Carlomaurizio MontecuccoMonika Schoels, Desirée Van Der Heijde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Aiming at therapeutic targets has reduced the risk of organ failure in many diseases such as diabetes or hypertension. Such targets have not been defined for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Objective: To develop recommendations for achieving optimal therapeutic outcomes in RA. Methods: A task force of rheumatologists and a patient developed a set of recommendations on the basis of evidence derived from a systematic literature review and expert opinion; these were subsequently discussed, amended and voted upon by >60 experts from various regions of the world in a Delphi-like procedure. Levels of evidence, strength of recommendations and levels of agreement were derived. Results: The treat-to-target activity resulted in 10 recommendations. The treatment aim was defined as remission with low disease activity being an alternative goal in patients with long-standing disease. Regular follow-up (every 1-3 months during active disease) with appropriate therapeutic adaptation to reach the desired state within 3 to a maximum of 6 months was recommended. Follow-up examinations ought to employ composite measures of disease activity which include joint counts. Additional items provide further details for particular aspects of the disease. Levels of agreement were very high for many of these recommendations (≥9/10). Conclusion: The 10 recommendations are supposed to inform patients, rheumatologists and other stakeholders about strategies to reach optimal outcomes of RA based on evidence and expert opinion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-637
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Allergy


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