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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2007 Aug;46(8):1355-8. Epub 2007 Jun 13.

Trends in medication and health-related quality of life in a population-based rheumatoid arthritis register in Malmo, Sweden.

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Consultant Rheumatologist, Spenshult Rheumatology Hospital, 313 92, Oskarström, Sweden.



To study trends in treatment, health status and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in two cross-sectional surveys over a 5-yr period and in an observational follow-up sub-cohort based on a population-based rheumatoid arthritis (RA) register in Malmö, Sweden.


A continuously updated population-based RA register was established in Malmö city in southern Sweden in 1997. Patient-administered questionnaires in 1997 and 2002 were used to collect information on demographics, medication and health status. Cross-sectional comparisons were made between 1997 and 2002. A longitudinal analysis was also performed in the RA patients participating in both surveys.


Increased proportions of patients were treated with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) (69 vs 52%), corticosteroids (30 vs 23%), methotrexate (52 vs 29%) and biologics (14 vs 0%) in 2002 compared with 1997. In the cross-sectional analysis, the visual analogue scores (VAS) for pain and general health and the short form 36 (SF-36) domains were slightly better in 2002 than in 1997. In the observational sub-cohort, patients treated with biologics improved significantly in several measures of health status, whereas those starting on methotrexate or undergoing other or no changes in DMARD therapy did not.


In this population-based RA cohort, patients were more actively treated in 2002. Small improvements were seen in health status and these improvements were exclusively attributable to treatment with biologics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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