The burden of disease in rheumatoid arthritis

Pharmacoeconomics. 2014 Sep;32(9):841-51. doi: 10.1007/s40273-014-0174-6.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease which, if left untreated, leads to functional disability, pain, reduced health-related quality of life and premature mortality. Between 0.5% and 1% of the population are affected worldwide, and between 25 and 50 new cases evolve in a population of 100,000. Practically all patients with RA require initiation with disease-modifying antirheumatic treatment to retard or stop progression, control disease manifestations and reduce the disease burden. If disease course is monitored with adjustment of medication, lifestyle factors, and exercise, as well as physical activity levels, co-morbidities may be prevented in the course of RA. During the last decade, major progress has been made in treating RA through early identification and treatment of the disease. Many patients still experience premature work disability and co-morbidities. For societies, the economic burden of RA is high in terms of direct and indirect costs, including modern drug treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / economics*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Work


  • Antirheumatic Agents