Findings reported today at EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) in Barcelona, Spain, reveal a treatment disparity between female and male patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Data from a study at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, show that women receive anti-TNFs (very effective but expensive modern medications against this disease) at a higher perceived level of disease activity and when they are reporting more severe pain than their male counterparts.
Whilst some disease activity measurements were found to be higher for women than men, and self-reported disease activity by the patients themselves echoed this, the physicians’ global assessments showed little difference between the level of disease in the men and women of the study group.
Lead researcher Dr Ronald van Vollenhoven comments, “Women are known to have consistently worse long-term outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis than men. To date, it has been unclear if this is due to factors intrinsic to the disease or because of gender-related prescribing. Our study does not show a gender-bias as such, but does indicate that physicians to some extent ‘discount’ the subjective measures of disease activity, which we found to be higher in women, and let their decisions be driven almost solely by objective markers of the disease. As a result, women are receiving anti-TNFs at a higher level of disease symptoms than men. Because the goal of any treatment for RA must be to relieve the patients suffering, it is not clear that this approach is the right one.”
The study analysed baseline variables for the patients on RA who were started on anti-TNF treatment in the STURE Registry (the Stockholm TNF-alpha follow-up registry). When anti-TNFs were first prescribed to the 644 study participants, the level of their RA severity was logged, as measured according to Disease Activity Scale 28 (DAS28) which takes into account the severity of disease across the 28 joints most commonly affected by RA.
Each participant’s Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR), which measures the level of inflammation, was also noted along with their Swollen Joint Count (SJC) and Tender Joint Count (TJC). Furthermore, both patients and their physicians completed a global assessment of disease activity, pain and physical activity (5 point scale questionnaire).
DAS28 scores at initiation of anti-TNF treatment were found to be significantly higher for women than for men (DAS28 was 5.53 for women, 5.04 for men, p=0.0006) and women had higher Tender Joint Counts (9.62 compared to 8.41 for males, p=0.066). The women in the study also had significantly higher ESR scores, although the authors suggest that this could be explained in part by the female hormone oestrogen, which affects tends to raise the ESR.
With regard to the more subjective self-reporting on the disease, through the patient-completed global health ratings, women also reported significantly worse global health (as measured by VAS and HAQ-disability index). However, the physician-completed global health ratings were equivalent for men and women.
Dr Ronald van Vollenhoven comments, “This study shows the importance of taking into account both objective and subjective measurement scores in treatment decisions. It is our hope that these data will help redress this imbalance and ensure equal prescribing and disease management for all.”
Rory Berrie | alfa
Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
20.07.2017 | Information Technology
20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy