Treatment FAQ

ra treatment to remisssion how long does it take

by Prof. Herminio Ebert Published 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago

The longer the time in remission is required, the fewer patients could be defined as maintaining remission because a number of patients will experience a flare with time. The reported definition of remission duration ranges from several weeks (mostly in clinical trials) to over 12 months (in observational cohorts).Aug 2, 2017

Full Answer

How long does it take for RA treatment to work?

You may notice a small improvement after your first or second dose of a biologic. Over time, you could get more relief. It typically takes 3-4 months to see a big improvement. But it can take longer, Kaplan says, even 6 months or more.

How many RA patients achieve remission?

Many people experience RA remission A 2017 review of RA remission studies found that remission rates ranged from 5 percent to 45 percent, based on standard criteria. However, there was no standard period of time to define remission.

How do you push RA into remission?

Early, aggressive treatment with medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) help ease symptoms and slow joint damage. That makes remission more likely. Your doctor may prescribe DMARDs along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or low-dose steroids to ease swelling and pain.

Has anyone recovered from rheumatoid arthritis?

In this article, we describe the case of a patient who had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for 10 years. Following 15 months of daily therapy using another therapy room in Osaka, she made a near-complete recovery.

What is remission in rheumatoid arthritis?

Your rheumatologist may use these or slightly different measures to determine if your disease is in remission: One or few er swollen joints. One or fewer tender joints.

When was RA remission defined?

When remission in RA was first defined 1981, it was characterized as elimination of all disease. “That’s a very hard target. We’re more likely to be able to reach limited or small amount of disease,” explains David T. Felson, MD, professor of medicine at Boston University and a practicing rheumatologist.

What is arthritis activity?

One or fewer tender joints. An assessment by the patient that on a 0–10 scale, arthritis activity is 1 or less. A blood test showing little or no inflammation in levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of inflammation. A second definition uses the Simplified Disease Activity Index to measure disease activity.

Is RA in remission?

Learn if it’s possible to take less medication or even a drug holiday. Your RA is in Remission! Now What? There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but remission can feel like it.

Is there a cure for rheumatoid arthritis?

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but remission can feel like it. Today, early and aggressive treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics makes remission more achievable than ever before.

Early treatment

An early diagnosis of RA allows a person to begin treatment quickly. Quick treatment is an important factor in achieving RA remission.


Treatment for RA can include a number of drugs that help ease symptoms.

Low disease levels

According to the Arthritis Foundation, if a person has low disease activity levels when their treatment begins, they are more likely to achieve and maintain RA remission.


A 2017 article notes that incorporating certain foods into a person’s diet may help by:

What are the goals of rheumatoid arthritis?

To make the most of your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment plan, your treatment goals should include more than just clinical goals, like reducing inflammation. You should also set personal goals around how RA impacts your everyday life. Personal goals can include broad goals, such as getting back to a hobby or activity you enjoy, ...

Can RA be reduced?

During remission, inflammation, RA symptoms, and the risk of permanent joint damage can be greatly reduced; some people even experience little to no inflammation or symptoms. Treating RA sooner can increase the likelihood of achieving remission.

Is there a cure for RA?

While there is no cure for RA, finding and maintaining the right treatment plan helps reduce inflammation, which can ultimately help you achieve remission, or little to no inflammation or symptoms. A rheumatologist can help you understand what remission could mean for you. Partner with a doctor.

How long does it take for RA to go into remission?

Requirements for RA Remission. Less than 15 minutes of stiffness upon awakening in the morning. Little or no joint pain, tenderness, or swelling. Blood tests showing low levels of inflammation. Remission means that your symptoms have resolved and disease activity has stopped.

What is RA remission?

What Research Says. Achieving Remission. People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have symptoms, including joint pain and fatigue, that come and go. When a person with rheumatoid arthritis feels better and symptoms are under control, it is called clinical remission, or simply, RA remission. Periods of remission can make a person feel like their RA is ...

What does it mean when a person has RA?

RA remission may mean a person’s symptoms are completely gone, or that they have an occasional flare-up of joint pain and morning stiffness. The American College of Rheumatology has published specific guidelines for defining RA remission. Doctors will utilize these guidelines to determine if a person’s RA is in remission.

What is the best treatment for RA?

DMARDs, such as methotrexate, are often first-line therapies for improving pain and symptoms, managing inflammation, and slowing down RA’s progression. When these drugs do not help or are not enough, biologics are the next drug therapies doctors consider.

How long is sustained remission?

They define sustained remission as remission lasting six months or more. Sustained remission has also been found to be more common in early RA and that certain factors including disease duration and severity, gender (remission is more common in men) and age, play a part.

How to prevent flares in a rheumatologist?

In addition to staying on your medications, you should be seeing a rheumatologist regularly and practicing a healthy lifestyle to prevent flares and relieve symptoms. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy and balanced diet, being active, managing stress and not smoking.

What is the treatment to target approach for RA?

Doctors take a “treat to target” approach for managing RA, which involves a target goal, treatment options to achieve the goal, and ways to measure if the goal has been reached. The treat to target method tends to result in higher rates of remission, less joint damage, and more sustained mobility.

How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Remission Defined?

Historically, remission was defined as the complete elimination of a disease. However, current definitions focus on dramatic improvements in disease signs and symptoms.

What Does RA Remission Mean for Treatment?

Once an individual with RA reaches remission, they should discuss a maintenance treatment plan with their rheumatologist. The rheumatologist may recommend several different treatment plans, including:

How Can Remission Be Achieved or Sustained?

Early RA diagnosis and aggressive treatment with DMARDs have been found to increase the possibility of remission. DMARDs function as immune-system modulators, reducing inflammation, blocking joint damage, and easing RA symptoms.

Talk With Others Who Understand

By joining myRAteam — the social network for people with rheumatoid arthritis and their loved ones — you can connect with more than 147,000 people who understand life with RA. Every day, members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories.

How many people with RA are in remission?

According to a study review published in July 2010 in the Journal of Rheumatology, up to 42 percent of people treated for RA with combination therapies achieve complete remission ...

What is the most important factor in rheumatoid arthritis remission?

The most important factor in rheumatoid arthritis remission is early and aggressive treatment with medication that improves or alleviates symptoms and halts the progression of the disease, says Dr. Greer.

What is the best medicine for arthritis?

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs ( DMARDs ), like Trexall (methotrexate), are often the first drugs many doctors choose because they improve pain and inflammation and also help slow the progression of arthritis. In addition, “biologics” are starting to gain favor.

How long does it take for a rheumatologist to work with you?

In general, full remission is 15 minutes or less of morning stiff ness and no pain or tenderness in the joints. (A low level of disease activity is 30 minutes or less of morning stiffness and only one or two joints ...

What is the antibody for rheumatoid arthritis?

Whether you have certain inflammatory markers associated with the disease, including rheumatoid factor (RF), or the antibody known as anti-cyclic citrullinated protein (ACPA). People without RF or ACPA — those who have so-called seronegative rheumatoid arthritis — have a greater chance of remission.

What is remission and low disease activity?

Experts define remission and low disease activity using specific and strict criteria to help physicians treat patients to achieve remission — a practice known as “treating to target.". This approach has resulted in a higher rate of remission, as well as improved mobility over time and less damage to the joints.

How long does it take for a relapse to happen?

Of those who achieve remission, about half will experience a flare-up, or relapse, within six months, according to Blazer.

How long does RA flare last?

Flares can last several days or even months. RA can also have times when it causes almost no symptoms, and inflammation is very low. These periods are called remissions. Most people with RA will alternate between low-activity and flares most of their lives. However, remission is possible with effective medications.

What to do when your RA is mid-flare?

When your RA is mid-flare, you may feel incapable of keeping up with your commitments, workload, and plans. Communicate what you’re experiencing with your friends, family members, and colleagues. Open communication helps them understand what you’re experiencing and helps you find people who may be willing to help when your symptoms are particularly problematic.

What is biologic RA?

Biologics are newer generation DMARDs, which mimic human immune molecules. They also inhibit the inflammatory response, but are more targeted. Both DMARDs and biologics are immunosuppressants. RA is caused by a faulty response from your immune system leading to chronic inflammation.

What foods should I eat to help with RA?

There is research that suggests there may be a connection between what you eat and how you feel if you have RA. A balanced diet may help ease RA flare symptoms and prevent inflammation. These foods include: 1 omega-3-rich foods, such as salmon, tuna, walnuts, and flaxseed 2 antioxidant-rich foods, such as colorful vegetables and fruit, beans, nuts, red wine, dark chocolate, and cinnamon 3 extra-virgin olive oil, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits

How does a physical exam help with RA?

These exams help them monitor how your body is handling the medicine you’re taking, how RA is affecting your joints and movements, and how you’re responding to your treatments. These check-ups provide benchmarks that your doctor can use to see how RA is affecting your body.

What are the drugs that slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis?

The medicines in this group include steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen. Disease-modifying treatments, also known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, or DMARDs, are designed to slow the progression of the disease. DMARDs prevent the body’s inflammatory response, which eases symptoms, slows progression, ...

How to treat a flared rib?

Some of the most important forms of self-care include: frequent exercise and stretching. weight loss and management. eating a balanced diet. getting adequate rest.

Can arthritis be cured?

Joint damage worries and aching hands are no fun, and if you’re experiencing those kinds of problems because of rheumatoid arthritis you may have options that can help you feel better. There’s no cure for arthritis, which is unfortunate, but feeling better is definitely possible.

Does RA medication affect the immune system?

While doctors are not clear why this medication is effective for autoimmune conditions, the theory is that it interferes with the metabolic communication between the bodies immune system cells. If the cells can’t effectively communicate with each other, then the excessive immune response of RA is reduced.

Is hydroxychloroquine safe for RA?

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, talking to your doctor about hydroxychloroquine may be the right choice for your needs. The medication is generally well-tolerated, and has even been found safe overall ...


Defining Remission

  • Remission means that your disease is no longer active. Spontaneous remission in RA is rare. People who experience remission with RA usually do so while on medication. That means if medication is stopped, the disease will likely become active again. RA remission may mean a person’s symptoms are completely gone, or that they have an occasional flare-up of joint pain a…
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  • The rates of remission now are higher than they used to be, especially with the use of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics. Research from the University of Los Andes in Santiago, Chile reports rates of remission in RA may be up to 48%. Specific factors improve the chances of remission, including mild disease activity and short disease duration. W…
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Achieving Remission

  • Doctors take a “treat to target” approach for managing RA, which involves a target goal, treatment optionsto achieve the goal, and ways to measure if the goal has been reached. Newer research reported in Arthritis & Rheumatology finds the treat to target method to not only increase the chances of remission and lower disease activity, but it also improves cardiovascular risk factors…
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A Word from Verywell

  • Once a person achieves remission, it is important to do everything they can to stay there for as long as possible. The most important way is to continue taking your medications. While some researchers believe drug-free remission is possible, for most people, RA requires lifetime treatment. Even if you do not feel pain, the disease may still be affe...
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