Association of 17 Definitions of Remission with Functional Status in a Large Clinical Practice Cohort of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

J Rheumatol. 2020 Jan;47(1):20-27. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.181286. Epub 2019 May 1.


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.


Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Functional Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Remission Induction
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Biological Products