Impact of rheumatoid arthritis in Turkey: a questionnaire study

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Jul-Aug 2014;32(4):477-83. Epub 2014 Jun 6.


Objectives: Unmet needs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients regarding physician/patient communication, treatment preferences and quality of life issues were investigated in a Turkish survey study.

Methods: The study was conducted with the contribution of 33 rheumatologists, and included 519 RA patients. The study population included patients who had been on biologic therapy for >6 months and were still receiving biologic therapy (BT group), and those who were biologic naive, but found eligible for biologic treatment (NBT group). Of the RA patients, 35.5% initially had a visit to an internal disease specialist, 25.5% to a physical therapy and rehabilitation specialist, and 12.2% to a rheumatology specialist for their RA complaints. The diagnosis of RA was made by a rheumatologist in 48.2% of patients.

Results: The majority of RA patients (86.3%) visit their doctor within 15-week intervals. Most of the physician-patient communication focused on disease symptoms (99.0%) and impact of the disease on quality of life (61.8%). The proportion of RA patients who perceived their health status as good/very good/excellent was higher in the BT group than in the NBT group (74.3% vs. 51.5%, p<0.001). However, of those RA patients in the NBT group, only 24.8% have been recommended to start a biologic treatment by their doctors. With respect to dose frequency options, once-monthly injections were preferred (80%) to a bi-weekly injection schedule (8%).

Conclusions: In conclusion, RA patients receiving biologic therapy reported higher rates of improved symptoms and better quality of life and seemed to be more satisfied with their treatment in our study.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antirheumatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Biological Products / administration & dosage
  • Biological Products / adverse effects
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Communication
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Patient Preference
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Perception
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turkey


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Biological Products