Background Work disability remains a major problem for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).1 Early retirement from work in patients with RA is associated with morning stiffness.2 However, there is little known about the impact of morning stiffness on work in those who continue in employment.
Objectives Assess the impact of morning stiffness on work performance in patients with RA.
Methods A survey was conducted among working age patients (18 years to state retirement age) in 11 European countries. Patients with RA for ≥6 months and RA-related morning stiffness were interviewed by telephone using a structured questionnaire, translated into the appropriate language. Findings from those in work were assessed.
Results A total of 1061 patients (55 from Norway and approximately 100 from all other countries; 78% female) completed the questionnaires. Overall, 534 respondents (50%) were considered to be in work: 314 (59%) were in full time work, 129 (24%) worked part time or on reduced hours, 47 (9%) were self-employed, 24 (4%) were students and 20 (4%) combined work and retirement (semi-retired). Among these respondents, 80 (15%) had taken sick leave in the past month as a direct consequence of morning stiffness (mean 4.5 days). Morning stiffness caused a third of workers (176, 33%) to arrive late at work (mean 2.2 hours), most commonly due to taking longer to get ready (136, 77%) or problems getting dressed (67, 38%). Nearly half the working respondents (250, 47%) considered that morning stiffness adversely affected their work performance, for a mean of 8.8 hours/week. During these hours, patients reported performing at only 59% of their usual level. There were considerable differences between countries (see table).
Conclusions Morning stiffness impairs work performance in patients with RA.
The survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI and sponsored by an educational grant from Mundipharma International Limited
 Sokka et al. Arthritis Res Ther 2010;12:R42.
 Westhoff et al. Rheumatology 2008; 47: 980–4.
Disclosure of Interest F. Buttgereit Grant/Research support from: Merck Serono, Horizon Pharma, Consultant for: Merck Serono, Horizon Pharma, Mundipharma International Limited, Speakers Bureau: Mundipharma International Limited, R. Tuominen Consultant for: Mundipharma International Limited, Speakers Bureau: Mundipharma International Limited
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