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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2010 Sep-Oct;28(5):748-51. Epub 2010 Oct 22.

Persistence on therapy is a major determinant of patient-, physician- and laboratory- reported outcomes in recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis patients.

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Department of Immunology and Rheumatology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México DF, México.



To evaluate impact of persistence on therapy on sustained major patient-, physician- and laboratory-reported outcomes (PROs, PHYROs and LAROs, respectively) in 112 recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.


At each visit a rheumatologist interviewed patients regarding therapy, morning stiffness and fatigue, scored the 28-joint disease activity score and a visual analogue scale (VAS) and determined acute-phase-reactants. The patients completed the Hispanic version of the Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity Index, the Medical Outcome Short Form 36 (SF-36), the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), a pain-VAS and an overall-disease activity-VAS. Persistence was defined by self-report through directed interview. Sustained major PROs, PHYROs and LAROs were defined according to cut-offs, when maintained for ≥6 months and until last follow-up. Descriptive statistics, Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox models were used.


Total person-time of receiving therapy was of 375.5 patient-years. From February 2004 to June 2009, 36 (32.1%) patients were persistent. Baseline PROs/PHYROs/LAROs showed active disease and poor health status in both groups, but persistent patients (PP) had significantly lower HAQ (p=0.03) and overall-disease activity-VAS (p=0.01). More PP reached a sustained major SF-36-physical function-score (p=0.02). Persistence was the greatest independent risk factor for sustained major PROs (but absence of fatigue) and PHYROs, (p≤0.04). Time from baseline to major and sustained PROs (excluded absence of fatigue), PHYROs and C-reactive protein were shorter in PP (p≤0.04).


Persistence was a strong predictor for major and sustained outcomes in early RA. Favourable outcomes appear earlier in persistent than in non-persistent patients.

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