MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. W. Benjamin Nowell, Ph.D.
Director of Patient-Centered Research
CreakyJoints, study co-author
Co-principal investigator of ArthritisPower
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can diminish patients’ work productivity and increase the risk of long-term disability, economic insecurity and worsening health, but limited research informs these issues. The purpose of our study was to examine associations between patients’ RA disease activity and their productivity and workplace support, using real-world data from the ArthritisPower research registry.
Our study looked at a sample of participants with RA who had a history of or current treatment with non-biologic and/or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) (n=296). Among the study sample, 74 percent had high disease activity (HDA) as determined by RAPID3 (>12), a common measure of disease activity in RA.
- High disease activity was associated with lower education (p<0.001) and higher likelihood of disability (9%, p<0.001) compared to those without high disease activity.
- Patients with HDA missed more days of work than non-HDA patients (mean: 6.1 vs 3.8 days, respectively; p=0.03), but non-HDA participants reported more days off due to medical appointments (2.6 vs 1.2 days, respectively) while HDA patients missed more days due to RA treatment side effects (mean: 0.5 vs 0.1 days, respectively).
- Based on scores from the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI) questionnaire, RA seems to affect work productivity to a greater extent in participants with HDA than without (WPAI scores 5.3 and 3.3, respectively; p<0.001). Participants who were not currently employed reported having more physically demanding tasks (e.g. heavy load lifting) and less workplace flexibility (e.g. working from home) in their most recent paid position than currently employed participants.
- However, in a multivariate regression analysis, we found that participants who could request changes in work start and stop times on a daily basis were 2.9 (95% CI: 1.53, 5.46) times more likely to be unemployed (adjusting for age, disease activity, and satisfaction with social participation) than those unable to make this request (p<0.0001).
About ArthritisPower: Created by CreakyJoints and supported by a multiyear, multimillion dollar investment by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), ArthritisPower is the first-ever patient-centered research registry for joint, bone, and inflammatory skin conditions. The free ArthritisPower mobile and desktop application allows patients to track and share their symptoms and treatments while also participating in voluntary research studies in a secure and accessible manner. ArthritisPower Patient Governors serve as gatekeepers for researchers who seek access to registry data or solicit the community to participate in unique, voluntary studies. To learn more and join ArthritisPower, visit www.ArthritisPower.org. Continue reading