The treatment we offer to patients with inflammatory joint diseases is based on large clinical trials comparing one type of treatment with another. However, these studies do not give us the full picture of how patients are doing and cannot answer all the questions we have about how to provide treatment and follow-up. Observational studies can describe the course of the disease in patients as it is when they are followed in regular hospital follow-up, and can answer questions that are not suitable for large clinical trials.
NOR-DMARD is an observational study of patients with inflammatory joint diseases who are treated with biological drugs in normal clinical practice. The study has been running since 2000 and now follows patients in Oslo, Lillehammer, Tromsø and Førde. One of the strengths of NOR-DMARD is that the patients are scheduled for regular check-ups according to a fixed plan, so that all patients basically have the same check-up schedule.
The study has gone through two phases. From 2000 to 2012, both patients on synthetic DMARDs (such as methotrexate) and biological drugs were included, while from 2012 only patients on biological treatment (possibly together with methotrexate or other synthetic DMARDs) have been included. In the last phase, data collection has been purely electronic.
All patients who start treatment with relevant drugs for inflammatory joint disease at the Department of Rheumatology at Diakonhjemmet, Tromsø, Lillehammer or Førde.
Patients are recruited as part of clinical practice.
Patients are followed on a regular schedule with check-ups at the start of treatment and then at 3, 6 and 12 months before moving on to annual check-ups. At the check-ups, they answer several questionnaires, are examined by a doctor or nurse and have blood tests.