Defining remission in rheumatoid arthritis: results of an initial American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism consensus conference

Arthritis Rheum. 2009 May 15;61(5):704-10. doi: 10.1002/art.24392.


Objective: Due to advances in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) therapies over the last few years, an increasing proportion of patients are able to achieve a state of remission. However, the definition of remission is unclear. Currently, randomized controlled trials around the world use different remission definitions and consequently measure different aspects of a patient's disease state. The need for a uniform definition of remission is vital for research findings to be correctly interpreted.

Methods: The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) constituted a committee that included international clinical researchers, trialists, and clinical epidemiologists in order to redefine remission in RA. This group was asked to study current definitions of remission, explore the theoretical underpinning of the concept of remission, and develop a research agenda that would inform future work in the development of an ACR definition of remission.

Results: In its first meeting, the committee preferred to develop a strict definition, implying no or very low disease activity. Such a definition would need to be validated against long-term outcome, e.g., physical function and damage.

Conclusion: The committee decided to consider both a definition for trials and a modified version for clinical practice. Since the first meeting, the ACR and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) have decided to sponsor this initiative as an official ACR/EULAR collaboration.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Remission Induction
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents