Predictors of satisfactory improvements in pain for patients with early rheumatoid arthritis in a treat-to-target study

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2015 Jun;54(6):1080-6. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keu449. Epub 2014 Nov 27.


Objective: The aim of this study was to identify baseline predictors of achieving patient-perceived satisfactory improvement (PPSI) in pain after 6 months of treat to target in patients with early RA.

Methods: Baseline and 6 month data were used from patients included in the Dutch Rheumatoid Arthritis Monitoring remission induction cohort study. Simple and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify significant predictors of achieving an absolute improvement of 30 mm or a relative improvement of 50% on a visual analogue scale for pain.

Results: At 6 months, 125 of 209 patients (59.8%) achieved an absolute PPSI and 130 patients (62.2%) achieved a relative PPSI in pain. Controlling for baseline pain, having symmetrical arthritis was the strongest independent predictor of achieving an absolute [odds ratio (OR) 3.17, P = 0.03] or relative (OR 3.44, P = 0.01) PPSI. Additionally, anti-CCP positivity (OR 2.04, P = 0.04) and having ≤12 tender joints (OR 0.29, P = 0.01) were predictive of achieving a relative PPSI. The total explained variance of baseline predictors was 30% for absolute and 18% for relative improvements, respectively.

Conclusion: Symmetrical joint involvement, anti-CCP positivity and fewer tender joints at baseline are prognostic signs for achieving satisfactory improvement in pain after 6 months of treat to target in patients with early RA.

Keywords: cohort study; disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs; pain; rheumatoid arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Management / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors


  • Antirheumatic Agents