Monitoring rheumatoid arthritis

The aim of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is remission (absence of symptoms, no tender or swollen joints, normal ESR/CRP values); this should also be the aim with all other rheumatic diseases. In order to optimise medication, appointments should initially be frequent (every 1–3 months). Monitoring aims to identify changes detrimental to prognosis (increased number of inflamed joints, elevated CRP, decreased functional capacity, erosions). RA is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Target lipid values should be the same as for other high risk patients (e.g. diabetes).