Compelling evidence supports a treat-to-target (T2T) strategy for optimal outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There is limited knowledge regarding the factors that impede implementation of T2T, particularly in a setting where adherence to T2T is protocol specified. We aimed to assess clinical factors that associate with failure to adhere to T2T.
RA patients from 10 countries starting or changing conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic (csDMARDs) drugs and/or starting tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) were followed for 2 years (RA BIODAM cohort). Participating physicians were required per-protocol to adhere to the T2T strategy. Factors influencing adherence to T2T low disease activity (T2T-LDA; DAS≤2.4) were analyzed in two types of binomial generalized estimating equations (GEE) models: i. including only baseline features (baseline model); ii. Modelling variables that inherently vary over time as such (longitudinal model).
A total of 571 patients were recruited and 439 (76.9%) completed 2-year followup. Failure of adherence to T2T-LDA was noted in 1765 (40.5%) visits. In the baseline multivariable model, high number of comorbidities (OR (95%CI): 1.10 (1.02; 1.19)), smoking (1.32 (1.08; 1.63)) and high number of tender joints (1.03 (1.02; 1.04)), were independently associated with failure to implement T2T, while ACPA/RF positivity (0.63 (0.50; 0.80)), was a significant facilitator of T2T. Results were similar in the longitudinal model.
Lack of adherence to T2T in the RA BIODAM cohort was evident in a substantial proportion despite being a protocol requirement and this could be predicted by clinical features.