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10-year follow-up of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who received structured treatment-to-target therapy in the early disease phase.

Project managers

Post doc
PhD fellow


ARCTIC-FORWARD is a follow-up study of people with arthritis who participated in the randomized controlled ARCTIC trial 10 years ago. Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in 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 are osteoporosis and arthritis-related lung disease.

In recent decades, there has been a positive development in the treatment and follow-up of patients with arthritis. The proportion of patients who quickly achieve well-controlled disease (remission) has increased markedly with the introduction of early, dense and target-directed treatment. The long-term effects of the new treatment strategies are more unknown.

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 the patients fare in the long term. We will examine the degree of disease activity, signs of joint damage, impact on other organs (especially lungs), quality of life, physical function and participation in work.

This research project will provide important knowledge about what kind of disease course patients who get RA can expect these days, and it will help clarify whether current treatment recommendations change the long-term course of the disease. The results will be able to contribute to better follow-up and treatment of patients with arthritis.


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


The patients are invited to an examination 10 years (plus/minus 18 months) after they participated in the ARCTIC study. The patients are thoroughly surveyed with medically relevant background information, clinical examination, lung function tests (spirometry and gas diffusion), blood tests, self-reporting of symptoms and function and imaging (ultrasound of joints, X-ray of hands and feet, bone density measurement, CT chest). Activity measurements are also carried out and blood samples are taken for the biobank.