A more active treatment has profound effects on the health status of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients: results from a population-based RA register in Malmö, Sweden, 1997–2005

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Methods: A continuously updated population-based RA register was established in the city of Malmo, southern Sweden, in 1997. Self-completed postal questionnaires issued in 1997, 2002, and 2005 were used to collect information on demographics, medication, and health status. Cross-sectional comparisons were made between data from 1997, 2002, and 2005. Results: Between 1997 and 2005, the proportion of patients treated with any disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) including biologics increased substantially (from 52% to 87%), as well as the proportion treated with methotrexate (from 23% to 52%) and biologics (almost exclusively tumour necrosis factor inhibitors) (from 0% to 20%). Twelve per cent of RA patients received biologics 5 years from disease onset in 2005. In parallel with changes in treatment, mean Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) scores (1.19 vs. 0.89) and all Short Form 36 (SF-36) subscales improved from 1997 to 2005 (non-overlapping confidence intervals). Conclusion: Between 1997 and 2005, there was a substantial increase in the use of DMARDs, which was accompanied by improved mean HAQ and SF-36 scores in cross-sectional comparisons. These results support the concept that more intensive treatment with DMARDs and biologics can have profound effects on the overall health status in RA patients at the population level.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-211
JournalScandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Rheumatology Research Unit (013243310), Emergency medicine/Medicine/Surgery (013240200)