Going into Remission from RA

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Is there a way to tell if I might go into remission?

John H. Klippel, MD
That's a great question because 10 years ago we weren't even talking about remission. We were just trying to stabilize this disease. And there's an amazing number of people, and there are more each year, who haven't had signs or symptoms of this disease for months, and they legitimately use the word remission. And they, and some of them think of themselves as legitimately having been cured of this disease. A couple of things—One, we cannot predict that at this point. Personalized medicine may take us there, but at the moment, it is still, we will try a drug and see how much benefit we get, so we can't predict it. I think the other thing that we have to begin to ask is people who are in remission continue on drug therapy. What we do know is that if medicines are withdrawn, the vast majority of people who have rheumatoid arthritis, if not all of them, as far as we know, the disease will relapse. So the remission is while they are taking drugs. That's a major advance, but if we were able to predict who was going to go in remission and if we could find a way to withdraw medications and not have the disease come back, that might be the next challenge that we want to face.