Work disability remains a major problem in rheumatoid arthritis in the 2000s: Data from 32 countries in the QUEST-RA Study

Jyväskylä Central Hospital, Keskussairaalantie 19, 40620 Jyväskylä, Finland.
Arthritis research & therapy (Impact Factor: 3.75). 03/2010; 12(2):R42. DOI: 10.1186/ar2951
Source: PubMed


Work disability is a major consequence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), associated not only with traditional disease activity variables, but also more significantly with demographic, functional, occupational, and societal variables. Recent reports suggest that the use of biologic agents offers potential for reduced work disability rates, but the conclusions are based on surrogate disease activity measures derived from studies primarily from Western countries.
The Quantitative Standard Monitoring of Patients with RA (QUEST-RA) multinational database of 8,039 patients in 86 sites in 32 countries, 16 with high gross domestic product (GDP) (>24K US dollars (USD) per capita) and 16 low-GDP countries (<11K USD), was analyzed for work and disability status at onset and over the course of RA and clinical status of patients who continued working or had stopped working in high-GDP versus low-GDP countries according to all RA Core Data Set measures. Associations of work disability status with RA Core Data Set variables and indices were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analyses.
At the time of first symptoms, 86% of men (range 57%-100% among countries) and 64% (19%-87%) of women <65 years were working. More than one third (37%) of these patients reported subsequent work disability because of RA. Among 1,756 patients whose symptoms had begun during the 2000s, the probabilities of continuing to work were 80% (95% confidence interval (CI) 78%-82%) at 2 years and 68% (95% CI 65%-71%) at 5 years, with similar patterns in high-GDP and low-GDP countries. Patients who continued working versus stopped working had significantly better clinical status for all clinical status measures and patient self-report scores, with similar patterns in high-GDP and low-GDP countries. However, patients who had stopped working in high-GDP countries had better clinical status than patients who continued working in low-GDP countries. The most significant identifier of work disability in all subgroups was Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) functional disability score.
Work disability rates remain high among people with RA during this millennium. In low-GDP countries, people remain working with high levels of disability and disease activity. Cultural and economic differences between societies affect work disability as an outcome measure for RA.

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    • "Rheumatoid arthritis-(RA-) related disability is one of the major problems faced by clinicians and patients: it reduces working capacity [1], affects the personal relationships and lifestyles of patients and their relatives [2], and increases the direct and indirect costs of the disease [3]. The wide range of factors that may give rise to patient disability include disease activity, joint damage [4], articular pain [5], and comorbidities [6] [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study involving 1033 patients with RA confirms the effectiveness of etanercept, adalimumab, and infliximab in reducing RA-related disability even in patients with a history of highly active and longstanding RA. Moreover, we found that the improvement in disability was biphasic, with a marked improvement during the first year of anti-TNF therapy, followed by slower but significant recovery over the subsequent four years.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · BioMed Research International
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    • "Chronic inflammatory conditions, such as different types of autoimmune arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and psoriasis, lead to considerable functional disability, a lowered quality of life and work capacity, as well as significant economic burden on the patients, families and society. Biological drugs developed over the recent decades provided new, highly effective, but very costly treatment options [1]. The high price created a barrier to access for patients in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region, and the utilization of biological drugs is still lower compared to high income countries [2]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The first biosimilar monoclonal antibody (infliximab, CT-P13) was registered by the European Medicines Agency in 2013 for the treatment of several inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Biosimilar infliximab is first being marketed in the Central and Eastern European countries. This paper presents the estimated budget impact of the introduction of biosimilar infliximab in RA over a 3-year time period in six selected countries, namely Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. A prevalence-based model was constructed for budget impact analysis. Two scenarios were compared to the reference scenario (RSc) where no biosimilar infliximab is available: biosimilar scenario 1 (BSc1), where interchanging the originator infliximab with biosimilar infliximab is disallowed, and only patients who start new biological therapy are allowed to use biosimilar infliximab; as well as biosimilar scenario 2 (BSc2), where interchanging the originator infliximab with biosimilar infliximab is allowed, and 80 % of patients treated with originator infliximab are interchanged to biosimilar infliximab. Compared to the RSc, the net savings are estimated to be 15.3 or 20.8 M in BSc1 and BSc2, respectively, over the 3 years. If budget savings were spent on reimbursement of additional biosimilar infliximab treatment, approximately 1,200 or 1,800 more patients could be treated in the six countries within 3 years in the two biosimilar scenarios, respectively. The actual saving is most sensitive to the assumption of the acquisition cost of the biosimilar drug and to the initial number of patients treated with biological therapy. The study focused on one indication (RA) and demonstrated that the introduction of biosimilar infliximab can lead to substantial budget savings in health care budgets. Further savings are expected for other indications where biosimilar medicines are implemented.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · The European Journal of Health Economics
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    • "Studies have shown that, when levels of pain are elevated in patients with arthritis, positive affect was able to prevent an increase in negative affect [15,16]. Furthermore, the level of purpose in life of people with RA was found to be lower in comparison with healthy persons [17] and other studies showed that polyarthritis had a negative influence on the social participation and the work ability of the people affected [18-20]. We hope to capture the full effect of the goal management intervention by taking into account the influence the intervention has on both negative and positive indicators of adaptation to polyarthritis. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: A health promotion intervention was developed for inflammatory arthritis patients, based on goal management. Elevated levels of depression and anxiety symptoms, which indicate maladjustment, are found in such patients. Other indicators of adaptation to chronic disease are positive affect, purpose in life and social participation. The new intervention focuses on to improving adaptation by increasing psychological and social well-being and decreasing symptoms of affective disorders. Content includes how patients can cope with activities and life goals that are threatened or have become impossible to attain due to arthritis. The four goal management strategies used are: goal maintenance, goal adjustment, goal disengagement and reengagement. Ability to use various goal management strategies, coping versatility and self-efficacy are hypothesized to mediate the intervention's effect on primary and secondary outcomes. The primary outcome is depressive symptoms. Secondary outcomes are anxiety symptoms, positive affect, purpose in life, social participation, pain, fatigue and physical functioning. A cost-effectiveness analysis and stakeholders' analysis are planned. Methods/design: The protocol-based psycho-educational program consists of six group-based meetings and homework assignments, led by a trained nurse. Participants are introduced to goal management strategies and learn to use these strategies to cope with threatened personal goals. Four general hospitals participate in a randomized controlled trial with one intervention group and a waiting list control condition. Discussion: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a goal management intervention. The study has a holistic focus as both the absence of psychological distress and presence of well-being are assessed. In the intervention, applicable goal management competencies are learned that assist people in their choice of behaviors to sustain and enhance their quality of life.
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