Question: Do most RA patients reach the point when their disease is "burned out"?
Answer: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
patients often ask, "Dr., I feel so good, is my arthritis burned out?" The term "burned out" implies a sense of finality and that essentially means that no further treatment is required, and no activation of disease is expected. Unfortunately, most cases of RA are associated with exacerbations and remissions. In reality patients should expect times when they feel pretty good, and other times when they feel sort of bad. Spontaneous remissions occur but are rare, while temporary remissions under treatment are quite common. The patient needs to remember that despite feeling good, once the disease is established, very few patients have complete remission from the disease and treatment must be continued until advised by their doctor to reduce therapy. (Answer provided by the late Dr. Raymond Federman, aka Dr. Bones, who passed away on September 2, 2003. The care of his patients even in retirement was always his joy.)