, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 1379-1386

Maximizing early treatment with biologics in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: the ultimate breakthrough in joints preservation

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Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, progressive inflammatory disease that, if left untreated, can lead to irreversible joint damage and serious disability. In Central and Eastern Europe, RA treatment varies widely, partly due to economic factors, restrictive treatment guidelines, and access to practicing rheumatologists. The recent treatment paradigm shift of treating to target in RA with early, aggressive therapy has proven to be a successful strategy for achieving optimal clinical outcomes. Several clinical studies demonstrate that utilizing this strategy with anti-tumor necrosis factor biologics leads to improved clinical, radiographic, and functional outcomes. Patient education is also a critical component of the treating to target strategy, and the patient’s version of the treat-to-target recommendations is an important tool for successful implementation. This review discusses the evidence for the treat-to-target approach and describes areas to improve the disparity of treatment between patients in Western European compared with Central and Eastern European countries.