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Psychosocial Factors Predict Functional Disability in RA

Depression, anxiety, missed work, unemployment are predictors of disability at one year

FRIDAY, July 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Psychosocial factors may be more important than traditional clinical measures in predicting functional disability in the first year after a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis, according to a study published online June 24 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Caroline Kronisch, M.D., from Cantonal Hospital Fribourg in Switzerland, and colleagues used data from a prospective cohort of 578 patients (64.5 percent female) with newly presenting RA or undifferentiated arthritis to determine baseline predictors of disability (defined as a Health Assessment Questionnaire [HAQ] score of ≥1) at one year.

The researchers found that 36.7 percent of patients reported functional disability at one year. Predictors of functional disability at one year were baseline disability (odds ratio [OR], 2.67; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.98 to 3.59), depression (OR, 2.52; 95 percent CI, 1.18 to 5.37), anxiety (OR, 2.37; 95 percent CI, 1.33 to 4.21), being in paid employment with absenteeism during the last week (OR, 1.19; 95 percent CI, 0.63 to 2.23), not being in paid employment (OR, 2.36; 95 percent CI, 1.38 to 4.03), and being overweight (OR, 1.61; 95 percent CI, 1.04 to 2.5).

“In the context of modern early inflammatory arthritis treatment paradigms, predictors of disability at one year appear to be dominated by psychosocial rather than more traditional clinical measures,” conclude the authors.

Several authors report financial ties to pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, which partially funded the study.

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