Background: Therapeutic approaches to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have undergone significant changes. The importance of tight control and early treatment, rapidly altered if goals are not achieved, is supported by evidence. However, it is unknown to what extent these insights are accepted by practitioners in clinical practice.
Objective: To obtain information about standard follow-up and treatment practices, and rheumatologists' aims in the care of patients with RA.
Methods: A survey conducted at the 2008 EULAR Congress.
Results: Most specialists, who were mainly from Europe and Latin America, were well-informed about recent concepts: two-thirds specified remission as a major goal. The experts attempted to reach treatment aims within 12-14 weeks, altering treatment otherwise. Disease activity assessment by composite measures is performed by a majority, although one-third preferentially relied upon their judgment.
Conclusion: These results suggest the acceptance of ambitious treatment concepts in practice. Although voluntary surveys have limitations, the answers reflect widespread adoption of desirable standards of care.