Secular changes in functional disability, pain, fatigue and mental well-being in early rheumatoid arthritis. A longitudinal meta-analysis

Lewis Carpenter, Rosie Barnett, Praveen Mahendran, Elena Nikiphorou, James Gwinnutt, Suzanne Verstappen, David Scott, Sam Norton

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Objectives: To conduct a systematic review and longitudinal meta-analysis of early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cohorts with long-term data on pain, fatigue or mental well-being. Methods: Searches using PUBMED, EMBASE and PyscInfo were performed to identify all early RA cohorts with longitudinal measures of pain, fatigue or mental well-being, along with clinical measures. Using longitudinal meta-analyses, the progression of each outcome over the first 60-months was estimated. Cohorts were stratified based on the median recruitment year to investigate secular trends in disease progression. Results: Of 7,319 papers identified, 75 met the inclusion criteria and 46 cohorts from 41 publications provided sufficient data on 18,046 patients for meta-analysis. The Disease Activity Scores (DAS28) and the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) Physical Component Score (PCS) indicated that post-2002 cohorts had statistically significant improvements over the first 60-months compared to pre-2002 cohorts, with standardised mean differences (SMD) of 0.86 (95% Confidence Intervals 0.34 to 1.37) and 0.76 (95% CI 0.25 to 1.27) respectively at month-60. However, post-2002 cohorts indicated statistically non-significant improvements in pain, fatigue, functional disability and SF-36 Mental Component Score (MCS) compared to pre-2002 cohorts, with SMD of 0.24 (95% CI -0.25 to 0.74), 0.38 (95% CI -0.11 to 0.88), 0.34 (95% CI -0.15-0.84) and -0.08 (95% CI -0.41 to 0.58) at month-60 respectively. Conclusions: Recent cohorts indicate improved levels of disease activity and physical quality of life, however this has not translated into similar improvements in levels of pain, fatigue and functional disability by 60-months.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number2
Early online date24 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020


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