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Published on 17 June 2010

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Study reveals negative effects of rheumatoid arthritis

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UCB today announced data showing the impact of pain on the daily lives of women with RA, focusing on productivity and relationships.

The results from the Good Days Survey were presented at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) meeting in Rome and indicate how devastating the effects of RA pain can be for women living with the disease.

The survey revealed pain and fatigue are the most commonly discussed symptoms during physician consultations and for women taking pain medications, 72% experience pain daily. The impact of RA in the work setting is substantial, with 71% of patients feeling less productive at work, 23% leaving work altogether and 17% switching to part-time work. Furthermore, 67% of patients state their self-confidence at work is negatively impacted.

“Loss of patient productivity and its associated indirect costs are a major contributing factor to the economic burden of RA,” said Dr. Vibeke Strand, Adjunct Clinical Professor, Division of Immunology/Rheumatology of Stanford University School of Medicine. “It’s about more than money, it’s important to be able to provide RA patients with an opportunity to work and maintain an active lifestyle, for their own self esteem and quality of life.”

The impact of RA stretches beyond the physical limitations and affects the emotional wellbeing of patients. In the survey depression impacted 40% of women with the disease a lot of the time and more than one third feel that RA has robbed them of their happiness. Additionally, 68% of respondents feel they need to conceal their condition, contributing to a sense of isolation. Furthermore, 26% feel isolated from friends and 4 in 10 women agree that RA makes it more challenging to find a partner, with 22% of divorced or separated women attributing their decision to separate to their disease.

“A third of patients characterised a “good day” as one with rapid pain relief and no morning stiffness,” commented Scott Fleming, Global Communications Manager, Immunology from UCB. “Insights from this study help us better understand the true impact of the disease and reinforce the urgent need for fast-acting treatments, to help improve the lives of those living with RA.”

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