A recent poll of 600 mostly
older adults with rheumatoid
arthritis (RA) found that most
patients want as much information
on their disease as they can get,
but they would prefer leaving the
treatment choices to their physicians.
The poll showed nearly universal
agreement that patients
should get full information about
RA, including its physical effects,
the side effects of any medications,
and details about any laboratory
tests their doctors may
order for them. The majority of
those polled thought that their
doctors should initiate discussions
about these issues, however,
rather than waiting for the patients
to ask about them. About 22%
thought that their doctors had not
given them enough information on
RA and its treatment.
The poll also showed that
patients preferred not to take the
lead in making decisions regarding
treatment. In fact, 75% agreed
that "important medical decisions"
should be made by their doctors,
and even more thought that their
doctors should take greater control
as the RA grew worse.