Many trials have shown that intensive management is effective in patients with early active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But its benefits are unproven for the large number of RA patients seen in routine care who have established, moderately active RA and are already taking conventional synthetic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (csDMARDs). The TITRATE trial studied whether these patients also benefit from intensive management and, in particular, achieve more remissions.
A 12-month multicentre individually randomised trial compared standard care with monthly intensive management appointments which was delivered by specially trained healthcare professionals and incorporated monthly clinical assessments, medication titration and psychosocial support. The primary outcome was 12-month remission assessed using the Disease Activity Score for 28 joints using ESR (DAS28-ESR). Secondary outcomes included fatigue, disability, harms and healthcare costs. Intention-to-treat multivariable logistic- and linear regression analyses compared treatment arms with multiple imputation used for missing data.
459 patients were screened and 335 were randomised (168 intensive management; 167 standard care); 303 (90%) patients provided 12-month outcomes. Intensive management increased DAS28-ESR 12-month remissions compared to standard care (32% vs 18%, p = 0.004). Intensive management also significantly increased remissions using a range of alternative remission criteria and increased patients with DAS28-ESR low disease activity scores. (48% vs 32%, p = 0.005). In addition it substantially reduced fatigue (mean difference -18; 95% CI: -24, -11, p<0.001). There was no evidence that serious adverse events (intensive management =15 vs standard care =11) or other adverse events (114 vs 151) significantly increase with intensive management.
The trial shows that intensive management incorporating psychosocial support delivered by specially trained healthcare professions is effective in moderately active established RA. More patients achieve remissions, there were greater improvements in fatigue, and there were no more harms.

Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.