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Quality-of-Life Data in RA Are Scarce, but Valuable to Rheumatologists and to Patients

VBCR - August 2013, Volume 2, No 4 - Arthritis

By Rosemary Frei, MSc

New Orleans, LA—Researchers are highlighting the lack of quality-of-life (QOL) data in studies related to the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

In a poster presented at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research 2013 annual meeting, a team of researchers from the United Kingdom showed that QOL information is gathered in only approximately 20% of studies related to RA. They also determined that overall only 26.6% of QOL data “reflect the psychosocial implications of RA and its treatment.”

Lead investigator George Miles, BSc (Hons), Analyst, Costello Medical Consulting Limited, Cambridge, United Kingdom, told Value-Based Care in Rheumatology that “rather than collecting more QOL data, the key issue is communicating the current QOL data to rheumatologists, who can then include this in their treatment decisions and inform the patient about these benefits.”

He and his coinvestigators, all of Costello Medical Consulting Limited, searched ClinicalTrials.gov in April 2013 for all completed phase 3 and 4 clinical trials in RA. The team identified 288 studies, 59 of which involved QOL measurement in RA.

The most common QOL instrument used in the studies was the Short Form 36-Item (SF-36) health survey questionnaire: 42 trials used this instrument, including 6 that also used the EuroQol (EQ)-5D. In total, 10 studies used the EQ-5D instrument.

Two trials incorporated the Child Health Questionnaire Parent Form 50 (because several trials included young patients), and 1 trial used the Rheumatoid Arthritis Quality of Life questionnaire. The remaining trials did not specify which QOL instruments were used.

The SF-36 questionnaire produces more information about psychosocial function than the other instruments, the team noted.

Based on their research, the researchers concluded that only a small proportion of trials measure QOL information, and only 26.6% of the data collected in RA-related studies involve psychosocial data.

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Last modified: May 21, 2015
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