The effect on work loss of different treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

July 1, 2013

Treatment with a biological agent was not superior to conventional treatment in terms of the effect on work loss over 21 months in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who responded insufficiently to methotrexate, according to a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

The introduction of biological inhibitors has improved the treatment of RA but at a substantial cost, according to the study background.

From a , Jonas K. Eriksson, M.Sc., of the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and colleagues measured monthly sick leave and disability pension days in patients who did not achieve low disease activity after three to four months of methotrexate therapy. The patients were divided into groups to receive additional biological treatment with or conventional combination treatment with sulfasalazine plus . Of 204 eligible patients, 105 were assigned to biological and 99 to conventional treatment.

The baseline average work loss was 17 days per month in both groups. The average changes in work loss at 21 months were -4.9 days per month in the biological and -6.2 days per month in the conventional treatment group, according to the study results.

"Our analysis showed that early and aggressive treatment in methotrexate-resistant patients not only stops the trend of increasing work loss days, as in patients with mainly established RA, but partly reverses it. However, we did not find any difference between treatment arms, indicating that the significantly improved disease control associated with infliximab treatment over a one-year period and the better radiological results after two years did not translate into less work loss," the study concludes. "The substantially higher cost of infliximab relative to conventional treatment needs to be weighed against the greater incidence of short-term adverse events leading to discontinuation of conventional treatment."

Explore further: No difference in death rates among patients exposed to common rheumatoid arthritis drugs

More information: JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 1, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.7801

Related Stories

Data suggest smoking doesn't impact RA treatment response

December 21, 2012

(HealthDay)—For patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA), smoking status does not impact treatment response to early combination therapy or initial methotrexate treatment with step-up therapy, according to a study ...

Recommended for you

Team finds gene that confirms existence of psoriatic arthritis

February 5, 2015

PsA is a common form of inflammatory form of arthritis causing pain and stiffness in joints and tendons that can lead to joint damage. Nearly all patients with PsA also have skin psoriasis and, in many cases, the skin disease ...

Blocking one receptor could halt rheumatoid arthritis

September 10, 2014

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have shown for the first time how the activation of a receptor provokes the inflammation and bone degradation of rheumatoid arthritis—and that activation ...

Low back pain? Don't blame the weather

July 10, 2014

Australian researchers reveal that sudden, acute episodes of low back pain are not linked to weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation. Findings published in Arthritis ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.