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Aspects of early arthritis. Definition of disease states in early arthritis: remission versus minimal disease activity

Annette HM van der Helm-van Mil, Ferdinand C Breedveld and Tom WJ Huizinga*

Author Affiliations

Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:216  doi:10.1186/ar1983

Published: 3 July 2006


With regard to rheumatoid arthritis, remission as currently used in the literature can have two meanings: either a state with persistent absence of clinical and radiological signs of disease activity without being treated for a specific time period, or it may point to a disease state with minimal disease activity during antirheumatic treatment. A risk factor for the first is absence of autoantibodies, with the anti-CCP-antibodies as best predictors, whereas risk factors for achieving a drug-induced state of minimal disease activity are not well defined. These definitions of remission refer to different disease states; therefore, we propose that the term remission is reserved for patients that are not treated with antirheumatic drugs.