Fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis; a persistent problem: a large longitudinal study

H.W. van Steenbergen*, R. Tsonaka, T.W.J. Huizinga, A. Boonen, A.H.M. van der Helm-van Mil

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: Fatigue is prevalent and disabling in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Surprisingly, the long-term course of fatigue is studied seldom and it is unclear to what extent it is influenced by inflammation. This study aimed to determine the course of fatigue during 8 years follow-up, its association with the severity of inflammation and the effect of improved treatment strategies. Methods: 626 patients with RA included in the Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic cohort were studied during 8 years. Fatigue severity, measured on a 0-100 mm scale, and other clinical variables were assessed yearly. Patients included in 1993-1995, 1996-1998 and 1999-2007 were treated with delayed treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), early treatment with mild DMARDs and early treatment with methotrexate respectively. After multiple imputation, the serial measurements were analysed using linear quantile mixed models. Results: Median fatigue severity at baseline was 45 mm and remained, despite treatment, rather stable thereafter. Female gender (effect size=4.4 mm), younger age (0.2 mm less fatigue/year), higher swollen and tender joint counts (0.3 mm and 1.0 mm more fatigue/swollen or tender joint) and C reactive protein-levels (0.1 mm more fatigue per mg/L) were independently and significantly (p
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000041
JournalRMD Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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