Management and treatment outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis in the era of biologic and targeted synthetic therapies: evaluation of 10-year data from the KURAMA cohort

Arthritis Res Ther. 2024 Jan 9;26(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s13075-023-03251-z.


Background: Advances in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment, highlighted by biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) and targeted synthetic DMARDs (tsDMARDs), have altered the paradigm of RA treatment in the last decade. Therefore, real-world clinical evidence is needed to understand how treatment strategies and outcomes have changed.

Methods: Using an observational cohort of RA from 2012 to 2021, we collected cross-sectional data of RA patients annually to analyze a trend in RA management. For patients who initiated b/tsDMRDs, we evaluated treatment outcomes between b/tsDMARDs. Mixed-effect models were applied to examine the statistical implications of changes over time in treatment outcomes with a background adjustment.

Results: We analyzed annual cross-sectional data from 5070 patients and longitudinal data from 1816 patients in whom b/tsDMARDs were initiated between 2012 and 2021. b/tsDMARD use increased, whereas glucocorticoid use decreased from 2012 to 2021. Disease activity and functional disability measures improved over time. The percentage of tsDMARD prescriptions considerably increased. All b/tsDMARDs showed clinical improvements in disease activity and functional disability. Statistically, TNFi showed better short-term improvements in b/tsDMARD-naïve patients, while IL6Ri demonstrated significant long-term benefits. IL6Ri had better retention rates in switched patients. After adjustment for patient characteristics, the annual change of RA disease activity and functional disability fared significantly better from 2012 to 2021.

Conclusions: With the development of new RA therapeutics, overall treatment outcomes advanced in the past decade.

Keywords: Biologics; Cohort study; JAK inhibitors; Rheumatoid arthritis; Treatment outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Biological Products* / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Biological Products