Biologics in Rheumatic Disease Reduce Missed Workdays Interview with:
Cécile Gaujoux-Viala, MD, PhD
Université Montpellier I
Chef de Service de Rhumatologie
CHU de Nîmes Carémeau

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases – such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) – confer significant patient and economic burdens : 1/5 of people with rheumatic conditions has been forced to change career, 1/3 will have stopped working within two years of onset and 1/2 will be unable to work within ten years.

The addition of biological agents in treatment strategies for rheumatic diseases have improved the possibility of controlling disease activity and slowing the progression of joint damage. But these treatments are very expensive and their effect on work participation remains unclear.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: Our study demonstrates a positive effect of biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs ( DMARDs) on work participation with reduction of absenteeism (missed work days and number of patients losing workt ime due to rheumatic disease) and improvement of presenteeism. The positive effect on job loss was nearly significant. Thus the high costs of these treatments could be at least partly offset by the savings they deliver in indirect costs.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: There is a real lack of published results especially for ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, for recent rheumatic diseases and for some biological agents. Studies in patients with shorter disease duration, longer follow-up periods and preferably adjusted for secular trends using the general population as a control group to understand employment outcome, are urgently needed. There is also a large heterogeneity in ‘Work evaluation’ scales. Hopefully, work impact is increasingly studied and standardized.


Presented at European League Against Rheumatism. “Biologics improve productivity and reduce missed workdays in rheumatic disease: Treatment could reduce economic burden on patients and society.

Cécile Gaujoux-Viala, MD, PhD, Université Montpellier I, Chef de Service de Rhumatologie, CHU de Nîmes Carémeau, & France (2015). Biologics Reduce Missed Workdays in Rheumatic Disease