Prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in the United States adult population in healthcare claims databases, 2004-2014

Rheumatol Int. 2017 Sep;37(9):1551-1557. doi: 10.1007/s00296-017-3726-1. Epub 2017 Apr 28.


This study aimed to determine the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in the United States (US) adult insured population from 2004 to 2014. This was an observational, retrospective, cross-sectional study based on US administrative health insurance claims databases (Truven Health MarketScan® Research database and IMS PharMetrics Plus database). Trends in RA prevalence focusing on the 10-year period covering January 1, 2004-December 31, 2014 were analyzed using a validated algorithm for the identification of RA. Prevalence rates in the databases were determined and age- and gender-adjusted rates were projected to the US population in 2014. Analysis of data from the two databases indicated that the RA prevalence rate in commercially insured adult US population ranged from 0.41 to 0.54% from 2004 to 2014. The prevalence varied substantially by gender and age in each year and increased gradually across the years for most subgroups. In 2014, out of 31,316,902 adult patients with continuous enrollment in the Truven Health MarketScan® Research database, 157,634 (0.50%) patients met our criteria for RA. Similarly, out of 35,083,356 adult patients in the IMS PharMetrics Plus database, 139,300 (0.50%) patients met our criteria for RA. In 2014, the overall age-adjusted prevalence of RA ranged from 0.53 to 0.55% (0.29-0.31% for males and 0.73-0.78% for females). The prevalence of RA in the US appeared to increase during the period from 2004 to 2014, affecting a conservative estimate of 1.28-1.36 million adults in 2014.

Keywords: Claims databases; Prevalence; Rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Claims, Healthcare
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Mining / methods
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult