10-year follow-up of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who received structured treat-to-target therapy in early disease

project manager

phd fellow

About the project

ARCTIC-FORWARD is a follow-up study of people with arthritis who participated in the ARCTIC randomized controlled trial 10 years ago. Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. The disease can lead to the destruction of joints, but other parts of the body can also be affected. Examples of complications resulting from arthritis include osteoporosis and arthritis-related lung disease.

In recent decades, there have been positive developments in the treatment and management of patients with arthritis. The proportion of patients who rapidly achieve well-controlled disease (remission) has increased markedly with the introduction of early, close and targeted treatment. The long-term effects of the new treatment strategies are less clear.

The patients who participated in the ARCTIC study ten years ago were treated according to modern treatment recommendations early in the course of the disease and most of the patients were in remission and had little joint damage after two years. Now we want to find out how patients are doing in the long term. We will investigate the degree of disease activity, signs of joint damage, impact on other organs (especially lungs), quality of life, physical function and work participation.  

This research project will provide important knowledge about what kind of disease course patients with RA can expect nowadays, and it will help to clarify whether current treatment recommendations change the long-term course of the disease. The results could contribute to better monitoring and treatment of patients with RA.

Who can participate?

All the people who participated in the ARCTIC study 10 years ago are invited to participate in the follow-up study.

Project arrangement

Patients are invited for an examination 10 years (plus/minus 18 months) after their participation in the ARCTIC study. Patients are thoroughly assessed with medically relevant background information, clinical examination, lung function tests (spirometry and gas diffusion), blood tests, self-reporting of symptoms and function, and imaging (joint ultrasound, X-ray of hands and feet, bone densitometry, CT thorax). Activity measurements are also performed and blood samples are taken for biobanking.


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