Role of infliximab in the treatment of early rheumatoid arthritis
Data has been generated that infliximab may be more effective when initiated earlier in the course of disease. A subset analysis of the Attract trial has demonstrated better efficacy of infliximab in reducing joint damage in an early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) population. Recently a randomized double-blind controlled trial revealed that infliximab in combination with methotrexate (MTX) in an early RA population improved signs and symptoms as well as inhibition in radiographic progression compared with patients receiving infliximab or MTX alone. The possibility of withdrawing infliximab after induction of remission with a combination of infliximab and MTX has been shown in a small pilot trial. Taken together, the results support the early use of infliximab in the treatment of patients with moderate to severe disease.