Premature Mortality in Rheumatoid Arthritis Reduced With Early Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Maarten Boers, MSc, MD, PhD

Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
VU University Medical Center–F wing MedFac
Amsterdam, Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Mortality in rheumatoid arthritis is increased. Recent (short-term) studies suggest the situation is improving, but in studies with long (>10-year) follow up the increased mortality persists.

We have been following a trial cohort of rheumatoid arthritis patients treated right from the beginning of disease (the COBRA trial) for 23 years and now, for the first time, show normal mortality compared to the general population.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Early diagnosis and optimal treatment leads to long-term benefits on the impact of rheumatoid arthritis, including all-cause mortality.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our cohort was small, started from a trial, and only half of the patients were treated according current treatment guidelines (the trial started in 1993 and in fact its early findings formed the basis to create such guidelines). More recent cohorts (fully following the guidelines, but coming from routine practice) should also be followed out for at least 20 years to confirm, and hopefully, to improve on our findings

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This research was performed by a third-year medical student, Pomme Poppelaars, who won one of the prestigious EULAR clinical prizes with this abstract. Research is fun, so start early!
 

Citations:
Mortality of the cobra early rheumatoid arthritis trial cohort after 23 years follow up
JOURNAL: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
MEETING: EULAR 2018 – Annual European Congress of Rheumat

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