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Sustained improvement of health-related quality of life in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis: a ten-year follow-up study.

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2011 Vol.29, N°1
PI 0065, PF 0071
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PMID: 21345294 [PubMed]

Received: 02/06/2009
Accepted : 15/12/2010
In Press: 23/02/2011
Published: 23/02/2011


To assess long-term impact of RA on the HR-QoL in a cohort of working-age patients with early disease treated by a multidisciplinary team including early and active use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
Fifty-five consecutive patients with RA who were naïve to DMARDs and glucocorticoids were assessed at baseline and at 6 months, 1, 2, 5 and 10 years. HR-QoL, disease activity, function, and joint destruction of hands and feet were assessed by using the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) instrument, the 28-joint based Disease Activity Score (DAS28), the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), and the Larsen scores, respectively. GEE (generalised estimation equations)-method was used to evaluate longitudinal relationships between the HR-QoL changes and other variables.
All NHP dimensions except social isolation improved significantly during the first six months and remained favourable up to 10 years. The most prominent improvements were seen in the dimensions for pain and emotional reaction (p<0.001). In longitudinal evaluation statistically significant associations (p<0.001) were found between the DAS28 and the NHP dimensions for pain, energy and emotional reaction, and between the HAQ and the NHP dimensions for pain, energy and mobility. The extent of joint damage had no statistically significant associations to the six dimensions of the NHP instrument.
Early improvements in HR-QoL carried over the ten-year follow-up in patients with recent-onset RA treated with a multidisciplinary strategy including early and active DMARD therapy. HR-QoL changes were longitudinally associated especially with disease activity and function.

Rheumatology Article