impact factor

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Impact of one-year treatment with biotechnological drugs on work ability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis in Italy: a prospective real-life study

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9


  1. ASST Gaetano Pini-CTO, Milan, Italy.
  2. IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Foundation, Pavia, and Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Italy.
  3. Ospedale Mauriziano, Torino, Italy.
  4. Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.
  5. Città della Salute e della Scienza, Torino, Italy.
  6. L. Sacco Hospital, Milano, Italy.
  7. Azienda Ospedaliera SS. Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo, Alessandria, Italy.
  8. School of Economics and Management, LIUC University, Castellanza, Italy.
  9. ASST Gaetano Pini-CTO, Milan, Italy.

2021 Vol.39, N°2
PI 0263, PF 0268
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PMID: 32573407 [PubMed]

Received: 30/10/2019
Accepted : 30/03/2020
In Press: 19/06/2020
Published: 09/04/2021


We aimed to evaluate the impact of biologic therapy on work productivity outcomes in an Italian real-life cohort of biologic-naïve patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This observational prospective multicentre study enrolled RA patients in working age with an active disease who started their first biologic agent. Every patient completed the RA-specific Work Productivity Survey (WPS-RA) at each clinical evaluation (baseline, 6 and 12 months). The primary outcome of the study was the productivity gain at 12 months from the beginning of the biologic treatment, compared to baseline, assessed in terms of absenteeism and presenteeism reduction, both for employed and unemployed subjects. Linear regression analyses were performed to assess the impact of patient- and disease-related variables on productivity gain.
Overall, 100 patients were enrolled and 85 completed the study. All indexes of disease activity and functional ability were significantly improved from baseline already at 6 months. At 12 months, the 55 employed subjects showed a significant reduction in the mean number of days of work missed (absenteeism) and of reduced productivity (presenteeism). A significant reduction in the mean number of days of household work missed was observed for all patients. At multivariate analysis, functional disability had a significant negative impact on all parameters of household work productivity, while the achievement of a low disease activity or remission was inversely correlated with presenteeism.
One year of treatment with a biological drug significantly impacts on the disease activity and work ability of RA patients and allows economic gains due to productivity improvement.

Rheumatology Article