Researchers have found that early, aggressivetreatment with a combination of disease-modifyingantirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) provides long-termbenefits for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis(RA). The study involved 160 participants in theearly stages of RA who were treated with 3 differentDMARDs or conventional single-DMARD therapy.During the Finnish study, the participants wereassessed 5 years after taking part in a clinical trial.
The study results, reported recently in Arthritis& Rheumatism, found that, after 5 years, the participantswho received triple-combination-DMARD therapy showed a 28% remission rate,compared with a 21% remission rate among individualsin the single-DMARD group. The participantsin the combination group reported lessswelling pain and mobility. Furthermore, they haddramatically less RA-related joint damage in theirhands and feet.
The researchers pointed out that long-termeffects were witnessed only in the participantswho received combination-DMARD treatmentsoon after the RA diagnosis. On the other hand,those who started on single-DMARD therapy andlater took combination-DMARD therapy did nothave the same results.