Objective: To compare the association between different remission criteria and physical function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis followed in clinical practice.
Methods: Longitudinal data from the METEOR database were used. Seventeen definitions of remission were tested: American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) Boolean-based; Simplified/Clinical Disease Activity Index (SDAI/CDAI); and 14 Disease Activity Score (DAS)-based definitions. Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) ≤ 0.5 was defined as good functional status. Associations were investigated using generalized estimating equations. Potential confounders were tested and sensitivity analyses performed.
Results: Data from 32,915 patients (157,899 visits) were available. The most stringent definition of remission was the ACR/EULAR Boolean-based definition (1.9%). The proportion of patients with HAQ ≤ 0.5 was higher for the most stringent definitions, although it never reached 100%. However, this also meant that, for the most stringent criteria, many patients in nonremission had HAQ ≤ 0.5. All remission definitions were associated with better function, with the strongest degree of association observed for the SDAI (adjusted OR 3.36, 95% CI 3.01-3.74).
Conclusion: The 17 definitions of remission confirmed their validity against physical function in a large international clinical practice setting. Achievement of remission according to any of the indices may be more important than the use of a specific index. A multidimensional approach, targeted at wider goals than disease control, is necessary to help all patients achieve the best possible functional status.
Keywords: DISEASE ACTIVITY; DISEASE ACTIVITY SCORE; REMISSION; RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS.