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Assessing disease severity in bio-naïve patients with RA on treatment with csDMARDs: insights from the Corrona Registry


Harrold LR1,2, Patel PA3, Griffith J3, Litman HJ4, Feng H4, Schlacher CA3, Kremer JM5. Clin Rheumatol. 2019 Oct 21. doi: 10.1007/s10067-019-04727-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Author Information

1 University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA. LHarrold@corrona.org.

2 Corrona, LLC, 1440 Main Street, Suite 310, Waltham, MA, 02451, USA. LHarrold@corrona.org.

3 AbbVie, Mettawa, IL, USA.

4 Corrona, LLC, 1440 Main Street, Suite 310, Waltham, MA, 02451, USA.

5 Albany Medical College and the Center for Rheumatology, Albany, NY, USA.



This study aimed to characterize disease burden among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with moderate-to-high disease activity who had received conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (csDMARD) monotherapy for ≥ 6 months but had not advanced to a biologic therapy.


Patients enrolled in the US Corrona RA Registry between June 1, 2014, and January 30, 2018, with 6 months of continuous csDMARD monotherapy, with moderate-to-high disease activity, who remained biologic naive, and who had ≥ 1 follow-up visit were identified. Disease activity was assessed among patients with a 6-month follow-up visit (± 3 months). Descriptive statistics were used to compare demographics and disease characteristics between patients with or without treatment advancement.


The study included 409 patients with a disease activity assessment at 6 months (mean (SD) age 65.9 (12.6) years; mean duration of csDMARD therapy 407 (221) days). Of those patients, more than half (54%, n = 219) remained in moderate-to-high disease activity. Patients remaining in moderate-to-high vs. remission-to-low disease activity had higher baseline swollen (6.1) and tender joint counts (6.8). Over the 6-month period, treatment advancement occurred in 29% of patients. Those who advanced treatment (n = 118) vs. did not advance treatment (n = 291) were younger, had a shorter duration of RA, had higher disease activity, and reported higher levels of pain and fatigue.


The substantial number of patients with persistent moderate-to-high disease on csDMARDs over a 6-month period and who did not advance treatment indicates that there is considerable need for a treat-to-target approach to care for patients with RA. Key Points •For patients with RA and an inadequate response to treatment with initial csDMARD monotherapy, guidelines recommend treatment advancement; however, this may not be occurring in real-world clinical settings. •In the current study, a substantial proportion of patients (54%) on csDMARDs had persistent moderate-to-severe disease activity at the 6-month (± 3 months) follow-up visit; however, only 29% of patients had their medication treatment advanced, indicating that there is considerable need for a treat-to-target approach to care for patients with RA. •Patients with younger age, shorter RA duration, and higher disease activity were more likely to have their medication treatment advanced, which suggests that potentially more aggressive treatment of disease activity is needed across the whole RA population.