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J Pak Med Assoc. 2019 Mar;69(3):389-398.

Epidemiology of rheumatoid arthritis, clinical aspects and socio-economic determinants in Pakistani patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia.
Department ofPharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine, Imam Abdul Rahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.



The study aimed to evaluate literature on rheumatoid arthritis disease in Pakistani patients, to have an understanding about its epidemiology, clinical aspects and socio-economic determinants.


The review study was conducted from December 2017, to May 2018. An online search was conducted in international and local health databases using appropriate search keywords as well as scanning reference lists of related articles. Literature published after year 2000 that reported epidemiological, demographic, clinical and socioeconomic data of Pakistani rheumatoid arthritis patients was included. Meta-analysis was performed where possible. This systematic review was registered on the international prospective register of systematic reviews PROSPERO (CRD42018090582).


Of the 334 research articles found, 29 (8.7%) were selected. Patients were mostly females, but no study explored impact of disease on household and family role functioning of rheumatoid arthritis-affected women in Pakistan. Most patients were uneducated (55%) and unemployed; had low disease knowledge (N = 149, 74.5%) and poor adherence to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (N = 23, 23%). Point prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis reported from Karachi was high at 26.9%. Moderate disease activity, i.e., 4.5}0.7 and mild functional disability (N = 66, 51.6%) were seen in RA patients. Almost half (N = 799, 46.9%) had comorbidities. Almost a fifth proportion of RA patients had dyslipidaemia as a comorbidity (N = 134, 16.77%) and higher cardiovascular risk score as modifiable risk factor. Undiagnosed depression (N = 134, 58.3%) and low bone mineral density (N = 93, 40.6%) were reported in RA patients. Direct monthly treatment cost of disease was significantly high considering patients' socio-economic status, i.e., USD 16.47 - 100.68. Most commonly used drug was methotrexate.


There is a paucity of data on Pakistani rheumatoid arthritis patients' demographic and socio-economic parameters, especially the gender element.


Rheumatoid arthritis, Epidemiology, Prevalence, Socio-economic, Patients, Pakistan.

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