Reduction in sickness absence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving adalimumab: data from a German noninterventional study.

Research paper by Klaus K Krüger, Jürgen J Wollenhaupt, Hanns-Martin HM Lorenz, Ekkehard E Röther, Bianca M BM Wittig

Indexed on: 31 Dec '11Published on: 31 Dec '11Published in: Rheumatology International


The aim of this noninterventional study (NIS) was to analyze the changes in sickness absence, disease activity, and functional capacity in employed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients during adalimumab treatment. RA patients receiving adalimumab according to label instructions (40 mg every other week) were evaluated at regular intervals in a multicenter prospective NIS. Patients provided information on sickness absence in the 12 months preceding treatment initiation (baseline) and at months 6 and 12. Disease activity was assessed by the Disease Activity Score using 28 joints, and physical function was assessed via the Hannover Functional Ability Questionnaire, a patient self-questionnaire comparable with the Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index. We present data on 1,157 patients who were employed (part time or full time) at baseline. Patients were categorized by the length of sickness absence at baseline. At baseline, patients with absences of 6 weeks or more in the previous year (n = 226 [19.5%]) accounted for 77% of the documented weeks of sickness absence, and patients with absences of more than 12 weeks (n = 98 [8.5%]) accounted for 54% of sickness absence weeks. During 12 months of adalimumab treatment, disease activity decreased, functional capacity improved, and sickness absence was reduced. The greatest decrease in sickness absence was observed in patients with more than 12 weeks of sick leave in the year prior to adalimumab therapy. These patients also showed gains in function comparable with those observed in other employed patients. We conclude that sustaining and improving functional capacity represent the key to preservation of work capability.

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