Josef S Smolen and Daniel Aletaha
The changes occurring in the field of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) over the past decade or two have encompassed new therapies and in particular also a new look at the clinical characteristics of the disease in the context of therapeutic improvements. It has been shown that composite disease activity indices have special merits in following patients, that disease activity governs the evolution of joint damage, and that disability is comprised of several components – among them disease activity and joint damage. It has also been revealed that aiming at any other disease activity state than remission (or at the worst: low disease activity) is associated with significant progression of joint destruction, that early recognition and appropriate therapy of RA is an important facet of the overall strategy to optimal clinical control of the disease, and that tight control employing composite scores supports the optimization of the therapeutic approaches. Finally, with the advent of novel therapies, remission has become a reality and the treatment algorithms encompassing all the mentioned aspects allow us to achieve today’s and tomorrow’s rigorous aspirations.