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BACKGROUND: Early intervention and tight control of inflammation optimise outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis but these approaches have not yet been studied in psoriatic arthritis. We aimed to assess the effect of tight control on early psoriatic arthritis using a treat-to-target approach. METHODS: For this open-label multicentre randomised controlled trial, adult patients (aged ≥18 years) with early psoriatic arthritis (<24 months symptom duration), who had not previously received treatment with any disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, were enrolled from eight secondary care rheumatology centres in the UK. Enrolled patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either tight control (with review every 4 weeks and with escalation of treatment if minimal disease activity criteria not met) or standard care (standard therapy according to the treating clinician, with review every 12 weeks) for 48 weeks. Randomisation was done by minimisation incorporating a random element, to ensure treatment groups were balanced for randomising centre and pattern of arthritis (oligoarticular vs polyarticular). The randomisation procedure was done through a central 24-h automated telephone system based at the Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research (Leeds, UK). This was an open-label study in which patients and clinicians were aware of treatment group assignment. Clinical outcomes were recorded by a masked assessor every 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients achieving an American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20% (ACR20) response at 48 weeks, analysed by intention to treat with multiple imputation for missing ACR components. Cost-effectiveness was also assessed. This trial is registered with, number NCT01106079, and the ISCRCTN registry, number ISCRCTN30147736. FINDINGS: Between May 28, 2008, and March 21, 2012, 206 eligible patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive tight control (n=101) or standard care (n=105). In the intention-to-treat patient population, the odds of achieving an ACR20 response at 48 weeks were higher in the tight control group than in the standard care group (odds ratio 1·91, 95% CI 1·03-3·55; p=0·0392). Serious adverse events were reported by 20 (10%) patients (25 events in 14 [14%] patients in the tight control group and eight events in six [6%] patients in the standard care group) during the course of the study. No unexpected serious adverse events or deaths occurred. INTERPRETATION: Tight control of psoriatic arthritis disease activity through a treat-to-target approach significantly improves joint outcomes for newly diagnosed patients, with no unexpected serious adverse events reported. FUNDING: Arthritis Research UK and Pfizer.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2489 - 2498


Adult, Antirheumatic Agents, Arthritis, Psoriatic, Drug Therapy, Combination, Female, Humans, Logistic Models, Male, Middle Aged, Treatment Outcome, United Kingdom