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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004 Aug;43(8):1034-8. Epub 2004 May 18.

Patients' perceptions of treatment with anti-TNF therapy for rheumatoid arthritis: a qualitative study.

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Department of Rheumatology, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust, UK.



Anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy is a highly effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as documented using standard outcome measures in clinical trials. Anecdotal experience suggests health benefits for patients other than those measured in this way. We wished to explore Patients' experience of and views about this treatment and the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Registry (BSR BR) process.


Separate focus groups for patients treated with infliximab (n = 7) and etanercept (n = 12) were undertaken. They were taped and transcribed verbatim, analysed and subjected to peer review and themes were identified.


Five main themes were identified: expectations of treatment, experience of treatment and its effects, concerns about taking a new class of drug, views about the BSR Biologics Registry process and costs.


Patients' experience of anti-TNF therapy was good, particularly in terms of physical function and well-being, although it did not live up to the very high expectations of some patients. The BSR BR process caused initial apprehension but patients had personal and altruistic reasons for being happy to comply with monitoring requirements. Qualitative methods add to our understanding of the effects of anti-TNF therapy for people with RA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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