Question Which is the best strategy to achieve (drugfree) inactive disease in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)?
Methods In a randomised, single-blinded, study in disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD)-naive patients with JIA, three treatment-strategies were compared: (1) sequential DMARD-monotherapy (sulfasalazine or methotrexate (MTX)), (2) combination therapy MTX + 6 weeks prednisolone and (3) combination therapy MTX +etanercept. Treatment-totarget entailed 3-monthly DMARD/biological adjustments in case of persistent disease activity, with drug tapering to nil in case of inactive disease. After 24 months, primary outcomes were time-toinactive-disease and time-to-flare after DMARD discontinuation. Secondary outcomes were adapted ACRPedi30/50/70/90 scores, functional ability and adverse events.
Results 94 children (67 % girls) aged median (IQR) 9.1 (4.6–12.9) years were enrolled: 32 in arms 1 and 2, 30 in arm 3. At baseline visual analogue scale (VAS) physician was mean 49 (SD 16) mm, VAS patient 53 (22) mm, erythrocyte sedimentation rate 12.8 (14.7), active joints median 8 (5–12), limited joints 2.5 (1–4.8) and Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire score mean 1.0 (0.6). After 24 months, 71% (arm 1), 70% (arm 2) and 72% (arm 3) of patients had inactive disease and 45% (arm 1), 31% (arm 2) and 41% (arm 3) had drug-free inactive disease. Time-to-inactive-disease was median 9.0 (5.3–15.0) months in arm 1, 9.0 (6.0–12.8) months in arm 2 and 9.0 (6.0–12.0) months in arm 3 (p=0.30). Time-to-flare was not significantly different (overall 3.0 (3.0–6.8) months, p=0.7). Adapted ACR pedi-scores were comparably high between arms. Adverse events were similar.
Conclusion Regardless of initial specific treatments, after 24 months of treatment-to-target aimed at drugfree inactive disease, 71% of recent-onset patients with JIA had inactive disease (median onset 9 months) and 39% were drug free. Tightly controlled treatment-totarget is feasible.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-213902, hdl.handle.net/1765/114772
Journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in the rheumatic diseases
Citation
Muller, P.H., Brinkman, D.M.C, Schonenberg-Meinema, D., van den Bosch, W.B., Koopman-Keemink, Y, Brederije, I.C.J., … ten Cate, R. (2018). Treat to target (drug-free) inactive disease in DMARD-naive juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in the rheumatic diseases, 78(1), 51–59. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-213902