The introduction of biologic therapies heralded a new era in the treatment for chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases of which rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most prevalent. From a scientific point of view, these therapies demonstrated that the targeting of individual cytokines or cell-surface markers is a very effective approach. For the physician, the appropriate selection of patients in whom these therapies should be initiated is critical, as is the even more contentious issue of whether these therapies can or should be discontinued in selected patients with excellent clinical responses. Whereas the former issue has been addressed in a large number of clinical trials and observational studies, the latter remains poorly investigated and is currently the subject of further study.
© 2011 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.