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1.  The 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(9):2582-2591.
The American College of Rheumatology and the European League Against Rheumatism have developed new classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of Phase 2 of the development process was to achieve expert consensus on the clinical and laboratory variables that should contribute to the final criteria set.
Twenty-four expert RA clinicians (12 from Europe and 12 from North America) participated in Phase 2. A consensus-based decision analysis approach was used to identify factors (and their relative weights) that influence the probability of “developing RA,” complemented by data from the Phase 1 study. Patient case scenarios were used to identify and reach consensus on factors important in determining the probability of RA development. Decision analytic software was used to derive the relative weights for each of the factors and their categories, using choice-based conjoint analysis.
The expert panel agreed that the new classification criteria should be applied to individuals with undifferentiated inflammatory arthritis in whom at least 1 joint is deemed by an expert assessor to be swollen, indicating definite synovitis. In this clinical setting, they identified 4 additional criteria as being important: number of joints involved and site of involvement, serologic abnormality, acute-phase response, and duration of symptoms in the involved joints. These criteria were consistent with those identified in the Phase 1 data-driven approach.
The consensus-based, decision analysis approach used in Phase 2 complemented the Phase 1 efforts. The 4 criteria and their relative weights form the basis of the final criteria set.
PMCID: PMC3077961  PMID: 20872596
2.  Incidence and Predictors of Secondary Fibromyalgia in an Early Arthritis Cohort 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(6):949-954.
Secondary fibromyalgia (FM) is common among patients with inflammatory arthritis, but little is known about its incidence and the factors leading to its development. We examined the incidence of secondary FM in an early inflammatory arthritis cohort and assessed the association between pain, inflammation, psychosocial variables and the clinical diagnosis of FM.
We analyzed data from 1487 patients in the Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort, a prospective, observational Canadian cohort of early inflammatory arthritis patients. Diagnoses of FM were determined by rheumatologists. Incidence rates were calculated, and Cox regression models were used to determine hazard ratios for FM risk.
The cumulative incidence rate was 6.77 (95% CI 5.19–8.64) per 100 person years during the first 12 months after inflammatory arthritis diagnosis and decreased to 3.58 (95% CI 1.86–6.17) per 100 person years 12–24 months after arthritis diagnosis. Pain severity (HR 2.01, 95% CI 1.17–3.46) and poor mental health (HR 1.99, 95% CI 1.09–3.62) predicted FM risk. CCP positivity (HR 0.48, 95% CI 0.26–0.88) was associated with decreased FM risk. Serum inflammatory markers and swollen joint count were not significantly associated with FM risk.
The incidence of FM was from 3.58 to 6.77 cases per 100 person years and was highest during the first 12 months after diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis. Although inflammation was not associated with the clinical diagnosis of FM, pain severity and poor mental health were associated with the clinical diagnosis of FM. Seropositivity was inversely associated with the clinical diagnosis of FM.
PMCID: PMC3488361  PMID: 22791744
Early Rheumatoid Arthritis; Fibromyalgia/Pain Syndromes; Epidemiology
3.  Multinational evidence-based recommendations for pain management by pharmacotherapy in inflammatory arthritis: integrating systematic literature research and expert opinion of a broad panel of rheumatologists in the 3e Initiative 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2012;51(8):1416-1425.
Objective. To develop evidence-based recommendations for pain management by pharmacotherapy in patients with inflammatory arthritis (IA).
Methods. A total of 453 rheumatologists from 17 countries participated in the 2010 3e (Evidence, Expertise, Exchange) Initiative. Using a formal voting process, 89 rheumatologists representing all 17 countries selected 10 clinical questions regarding the use of pain medications in IA. Bibliographic fellows undertook a systematic literature review for each question, using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane CENTRAL and 2008–09 European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR)/ACR abstracts. Relevant studies were retrieved for data extraction and quality assessment. Rheumatologists from each country used this evidence to develop a set of national recommendations. Multinational recommendations were then formulated and assessed for agreement and the potential impact on clinical practice.
Results. A total of 49 242 references were identified, from which 167 studies were included in the systematic reviews. One clinical question regarding different comorbidities was divided into two separate reviews, resulting in 11 recommendations in total. Oxford levels of evidence were applied to each recommendation. The recommendations related to the efficacy and safety of various analgesic medications, pain measurement scales and pain management in the pre-conception period, pregnancy and lactation. Finally, an algorithm for the pharmacological management of pain in IA was developed. Twenty per cent of rheumatologists reported that the algorithm would change their practice, and 75% felt the algorithm was in accordance with their current practice.
Conclusions. Eleven evidence-based recommendations on the management of pain by pharmacotherapy in IA were developed. They are supported by a large panel of rheumatologists from 17 countries, thus enhancing their utility in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3397467  PMID: 22447886
arthritis; evidence-based medicine; analgesics
4.  Sustained rheumatoid arthritis remission is uncommon in clinical practice 
Remission is an important goal of therapy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but data on duration of remission are lacking. Our objective was to describe the duration of remission in RA, assessed by different criteria.
We evaluated patients from the Brigham and Women's Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study (BRASS) not in remission at baseline with at least 2 years of follow-up. Remission was assessed according to the Disease Activity Score 28-C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP4), Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI), and Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) scores, and the recently proposed American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) criteria for remission. Analyses were performed by using Kaplan-Meier survival curves.
We identified 871 subjects with ≥2 years of follow-up. Of these subjects, 394 were in remission at one or more time-points and not in remission at baseline, according to at least one of the following criteria: DAS28-CRP < 2.6 (n = 309), DAS28-CRP < 2.3 (n = 275), SDAI (n = 168), CDAI (n = 170), and 2010 ACR/EULAR (n = 158). The median age for the 394 subjects at entrance to BRASS was 56 years; median disease duration was 8 years; 81% were female patients; and 72% were seropositive. Survival analysis performed separately for each remission criterion demonstrated that < 50% of subjects remained in remission 1 year later. Median remission survival time was 1 year. Kaplan-Meier curves of the various remission criteria did not significantly differ (P = 0.29 according to the log-rank test).
This study shows that in clinical practice, a minority of RA patients are in sustained remission.
PMCID: PMC3446437  PMID: 22429277
5.  Development of a self-administered early inflammatory arthritis detection tool 
Barriers to care limit the potential benefits of pharmacological intervention for inflammatory arthritis. A self-administered questionnaire for early inflammatory arthritis (EIA) detection may complement contemporary triage interventions to further reduce delays to rheumatologic care. The objective of this study was to develop a self-administered EIA detection tool for implementation in pre-primary care settings.
A core set of dimensions and constructs for EIA detection were systematically derived from the literature and augmented by investigative team arbitration. Identified constructs were formulated into lay language questions suitable for self-administration. A three-round Delphi consensus panel of EIA experts and stakeholders evaluated the relevance of each question to EIA detection and suggested additional items. Questions accepted by less than 70% of respondents in rounds one or two were eliminated. In round three, questions accepted by at least 80% of the panel were selected for the tool.
Of 584 citations identified, data were extracted from 47 eligible articles. Upon arbitration of the literature synthesis, 30 constructs encompassing 13 dimensions were formulated into lay language questions and posed to the Delphi panel. A total of 181 EIA experts and stakeholders participated on the Delphi panel: round one, 60; round two, 59; and, round three, 169; 48 participated in all three rounds. The panel evaluated the 30 questions derived from the literature synthesis, suggested five additional items, and eliminated a total of 24. The eleven-question instrument developed captured dimensions of articular pain, swelling, and stiffness, distribution of joint involvement, function, and diagnostic and family history.
An eleven-question, EIA detection tool suitable for self-administration was developed to screen subjects with six to 52 weeks of musculoskeletal complaints. Psychometric and performance property testing of the tool is ongoing.
PMCID: PMC2851668  PMID: 20236522
6.  Tocilizumab in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis and inadequate responses to DMARDs and/or TNF inhibitors: a large, open-label study close to clinical practice 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;71(12):1950-1954.
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab in clinical practice in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with inadequate responses (IR) to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or both DMARDs and tumour necrosis factor α inhibitors (TNFis).
Patients—categorised as TNFi-naive, TNFi-previous (washout) or TNFi-recent (no washout) —received open-label tocilizumab (8 mg/kg) every 4 weeks ± DMARDs for 24 weeks. Adverse events (AEs) and treatment discontinuations were monitored. Efficacy end points included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) responses, 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28) and European League Against Rheumatism responses.
Overall, 1681 (976 TNF-naive, 298 TNFi-previous and 407 TNFi-recent) patients were treated; 5.1% discontinued treatment because of AEs. The AE rate was numerically higher in TNFi-recent (652.6/100 patient-years (PY)) and TNFi-previous (653.6/100PY) than in TNFi-naive (551.1/100PY) patients. Serious AE rates were 18.0/100PY, 28.0/100PY and 18.6/100PY; serious infection rates were 6.0/100PY, 6.8/100PY and 4.2/100PY, respectively. At week 4, 36.5% of patients achieved ACR20 response and 14.9% DAS28 remission (<2.6); at week 24, 66.9%, 46.6%, 26.4% and 56.8% achieved ACR20/ACR50/ACR70 responses and DAS28 remission, respectively. Overall, 61.6% (TNFi-naive), 48.5% (TNFi-previous) and 50.4% (TNFi-recent) patients achieved DAS28 remission.
In patients with RA who were DMARD-IR/TNFi-IR, tocilizumab ± DMARDs provided rapid and sustained efficacy without unexpected safety concerns.
PMCID: PMC3595980  PMID: 22615456
7.  Evaluating drug-free remission with abatacept in early rheumatoid arthritis: results from the phase 3b, multicentre, randomised, active-controlled AVERT study of 24 months, with a 12-month, double-blind treatment period 
To evaluate clinical remission with subcutaneous abatacept plus methotrexate (MTX) and abatacept monotherapy at 12 months in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and maintenance of remission following the rapid withdrawal of all RA treatment.
In the Assessing Very Early Rheumatoid arthritis Treatment phase 3b trial, patients with early active RA were randomised to double-blind, weekly, subcutaneous abatacept 125 mg plus MTX, abatacept 125 mg monotherapy, or MTX for 12 months. Patients with low disease activity (Disease Activity Score (DAS)28 (C reactive protein (CRP)) <3.2) at month 12 entered a 12-month period of withdrawal of all RA therapy. The coprimary endpoints were the proportion of patients with DAS28 (CRP) <2.6 at month 12 and both months 12 and 18, for abatacept plus MTX versus MTX.
Patients had <2 years of RA symptoms, DAS28 (CRP) ≥3.2, anticitrullinated peptide-2 antibody positivity and 95.2% were rheumatoid factor positive. For abatacept plus MTX versus MTX, DAS28 (CRP) <2.6 was achieved in 60.9% versus 45.2% (p=0.010) at 12 months, and following treatment withdrawal, in 14.8% versus 7.8% (p=0.045) at both 12 and 18 months. DAS28 (CRP) <2.6 was achieved for abatacept monotherapy in 42.5% (month 12) and 12.4% (both months 12 and 18). Both abatacept arms had a safety profile comparable with MTX alone.
Abatacept plus MTX demonstrated robust efficacy compared with MTX alone in early RA, with a good safety profile. The achievement of sustained remission following withdrawal of all RA therapy suggests an effect of abatacept's mechanism on autoimmune processes.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC4283672  PMID: 25367713
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Methotrexate; DMARDs (biological); Disease Activity

Results 1-7 (7)