“Treat to Target”: A New Approach to Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can keep both patients and physicians on their toes as they figure out the best ways to treat the symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.

See Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Diagnosis

Recently, advances in treatment strategies have resulted in ever-improving outcomes and quality of life for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

The treat to target approach has resulted in fewer symptoms and higher remission rates for those with RA. See Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Treatment

Experts are improving RA treatment by rethinking how it’s treated. A good example of this is the rise of the “treat to target” philosophy of treatment.


Treat to target is a treatment strategy that involves:

It’s thought that Treat to Target is effective because it encourages doctors to test more often and be more aggressive in altering a treatment plan that isn’t working. It’s also helpful to have a specific remission-based goal, which can be more meaningful to patients than, for example, a change in percentage points on an ACR test.

Research has shown that the treat to target approach can result in sustained remission for those with early RA and can also be effective for those with longstanding RA, according to the Arthritis Foundation.1

See Coping with Chronic Fatigue in Rheumatoid Arthritis

In studies of the Treat to Target method, patients with early RA (less than one year of symptoms) achieved low disease activity, high remission rates, and improved function. These results were sustained, as well—in many cases for several years.

See Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms

Treat to Target has also shown promise for those with more established RA, but more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

See Hand Pain and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

There’s no question that rheumatoid arthritis can be a challenge to manage. But thanks to advances in RA treatment, the options for those with RA are steadily improving.

See Managing RA Fatigue Through Diet and Exercise

Learn more:

Rheumatologist's Role in Patient Care

Diagnosing and Treating Rheumatologic Conditions in Children


  • 1.“Treat to Target Approach Improves RA Outcomes.” Arthritis Foundation. Accessed September 2016.