Objectives: To determine the impact of a disease flare on patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, who are tapering treatment. Methods: Data were used from the TARA trial; a multicenter, randomized controlled trial in which RA patients, with a well-controlled disease (DAS≤2.4 and SJC≤1) for at least 6 months, gradually tapered their DMARDs. PROMs of patients with a flare (DAS>2.4 and/or SJC>1) were compared every three months before and after a flare with their own norm values. Linear Mixed Models were used to investigate whether a disease flare influenced functional ability (HAQ-DI), fatigue (BRAF-MDQ), quality of life (EQ-5D and SF36), anxiety and depression (HADS), morning stiffness, general health (GH) and worker productivity, and if so, the duration was determined. For unemployment and sick leave we used descriptive statistics. Results: A flare negatively influenced GH, morning stiffness, HAQ-DI, EQ-5D, BRAF-MDQ, and the SF36 physical component scale and this effect lasted >3 months. Except for the HAQ-DI, effect sizes exceeded the minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs). For the physical outcomes effects lasted >6 months. Worker productivity was not significantly affected by a flare. Conclusion: A disease flare influenced patients’ lives, the largest effect was seen in the physical outcomes, and lasted 6 months. Although on a group level effect sizes for the separate PROMs were not always significant or larger than specific MCIDs, a disease flare can still be of great importance for individual patients.

DMARDs, Patient reported outcome measures, Rheumatoid arthritis, Tapering
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semarthrit.2020.02.011, hdl.handle.net/1765/125939
Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
Department of Pediatrics

van Mulligen, E. (E.), Weel, A.E.A.M, Kuijper, T.M, Hazes, J.M.W. (J. M.W.), van der Helm-van Mil, A.H.M, & de Jong, P.H.P. (2020). The impact of a disease flare during tapering of DMARDs on the lives of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. doi:10.1016/j.semarthrit.2020.02.011