EULAR 2010 report: RA pain in women and other arthritis findings

Jul 02, 2010

Close to three-fourths of women who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience pain on a daily basis, even though three-fourths receive medication for pain relief, according to a new study presented at the 2010 Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), held recently in Rome.

Close to three-fourths of women who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience pain on a daily basis, even though three-fourths receive medication for pain relief, according to a new study presented at the 2010 Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), held recently in Rome. The physical pain appears to affect women to such an extent that it has a negative impact on emotional and social aspects of their lives.

Women with RA reported feelings of detachment and isolation and said that their condition had affected intimate relationships in a negative manner; 68% of women with RA reported concealing their pain from the persons closest to them, and 67% said that they constantly look for new ideas to address their pain. In the workplace, 71% of respondents reported that they were less productive because of their RA; many reported that RA had a long-term effect on their work life. A strong correlation between RA disease severity and impact on sex life was demonstrated in another study.

Highlights of other study findings at EULAR 2010 include the following:

•Achieving disease remission in patients who have RA provides superior outcomes across measures of socioeconomic importance, including work productivity and quality of life.

•Patients with RA have a 2-fold increased risk of a myocardial infarction (MI) compared with the general population; the increased risk is comparable to that of MI seen in patients with diabetes mellitus.

•The role of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide as a robust, noninvasive predictor of cardiovascular risk in patients with arthritis who are taking cyclooxygenase inhibitors was reinforced by the results of a multinational study.

•In patients with RA, the expression of a transporter protein, the breast cancer resistance protein, may indicate higher disease activity and could be a barrier to the effectiveness of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

•Smoking cigarettes is a significant risk factor for RA, and it may have a negative impact on the effectiveness of anti–tumor necrosis factor a inhibitors in patients with RA who are taking these treatments.

•Women who drink tea are at increased risk for RA compared with those who drink none; no correlation between the amount of coffee consumption and the incidence of RA was found.

•Vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with a range of rheumatologic diseases. More than half of patients with an inflammatory joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA), or myalgia had a vitamin D level below that clinically considered to be “sufficient” in healthy persons. In addition, taking the recommended daily dose does not normalize vitamin D levels in patients with rheumatologic disease.

•Alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly reduced risk of several arthritic conditions, including RA, OA, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and spondylarthropathy.

•In Sweden, biologics-naive patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis may be at increased risk for cancer compared with the general population.

For more information about these and other developments at the meeting, visit the EULAR Web site at http://www.eular.org. Or, contact the organization at the European League Against Rheumatism, EULAR Secretariat, Seestrasse 240, CH 8802-Kilchberg, Switzerland; telephone: + 41 44 716 30 30; fax: + 41 44 716 30 39.

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