[Variations in the drug treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in Spain]

Med Clin (Barc). 2002 Jun 1;118(20):771-6. doi: 10.1016/s0025-7753(02)72526-8.
[Article in Spanish]


Background: Variations in the use of healthcare resources can result in differences in the outcome of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The emAR study was developed to determine variations in the management of socio-sanitary resources, including drugs use, in patients with this disorder.

Patients and method: The clinical records of 1,379 patients, randomly selected among all RA patients attended in Spanish hospitals, were reviewed. Information about prescription of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), corticosteroids, analgesics, gastric protectors and drugs for osteoporosis was collected. In addition, socio-demographic- and disease-related information, as well as data from hospitals, medical units and responsible physicians were also obtained in each patient.

Results: There was a high level of DMARD and NSAID prescription that was associated with patient or disease characteristics. Treatment with corticosteroids, as well as with the remaining drugs, showed a substantial regional variability, which may be related to physician-associated variables as well as to patient- and disease-associated characteristics.

Conclusions: Variability in the management of therapeutic resources in RA patients mainly depends on the characteristics of the patient or the disease. There is also a variation that is influenced by physician's characteristics; in some cases, the available scientific evidence may not support this variability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Sex Factors


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids