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Remission crucial for work productivity in RA patients

11 Aug 2017

Achieving remission is important to ensure work performance and activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a recent study.

A total of 1,274 consecutive patients were included in this study that sought to identify factors relevant to work and activity impairment in patients with RA. Researchers used the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire to measure work and activity impairment, and examined related clinical factors.

Of the RA patients, 67.4 percent reported work and activity impairment. Pain and nonremission were associated with activity impairment and presenteeism, based on multivariable linear regression analyses. Patients in remission reported significantly less activity impairment and presenteeism as compared to those with low disease activity.

“Remission achievement is essential for ensuring work performance and activity,” researchers said.

These findings support an earlier study, which found that productivity loss was common in patients in the first years of RA who are in paid work and was associated with work characteristics and adverse clinical outcomes. [Rheumatology (Oxford) 2012;51:375-84]

In a related review, Suzanne Verstappen from the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology said that many RA patients have to take sick leave or even stop working because of their condition despite changes in RA management in the last 15 years. Additionally, those remaining in paid work may face problems due to RA resulting in productivity loss while at work. [Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 2015;29:495-511]

“The costs attributed to absenteeism and presenteeism have been estimated to be very high, and they even exceed direct costs,” Verstappen said.

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