RA Pain Remains Despite Treatment

Published Online: Saturday, January 1, 2005

A survey of 500 adults with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) revealed that 70% of the patients still experience unbearable pain, stiffness, and fatigue daily. More than one third rank their quality of life at only 5 out of 10 at best.

The survey, a collaboration between the Arthritis Foundation and Harris Interactive Inc, showed that half of the respondents' symptoms were reduced by medication.

Yet, 49% reported that they continue to modify their daily household activities because of their arthritis. Among the survey's other findings were the following:

• More than two thirds of RA patients receiving disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or biologic response modifiers (BRMs) still experience pain (70% and 71%, respectively), stiffness (69% and 75%), and fatigue (67% and 67%) daily, despite current medication use

• The 3 main concerns among patients who have been prescribed current treatments for RA (DMARDs, BRMs) are the potential for long-term health consequences (42% and 45%), an increased risk of infection (36% and 41%), and less than adequate relief from fatigue (34% and 32%)

• All of the respondents would be interested in new RA treatments that ease pain more completely or provide longer periods of relief from pain

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