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Ann Rheum Dis doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-205094
  • Clinical and epidemiological research
  • Concise report

Overweight decreases the chance of achieving good response and low disease activity in early rheumatoid arthritis

  1. Saedis Saevarsdottir1,2
  1. 1Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet/Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Centre for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Maria E C Sandberg, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, Stockholm 171 71, Sweden; maria.sandberg{at}ki.se
  • Received 18 December 2013
  • Revised 25 March 2014
  • Accepted 13 April 2014
  • Published Online First 12 May 2014

Abstract

Aim To investigate whether overweight/obesity at diagnosis affects the chances of decrease in disease activity and pain in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Method We investigated incident RA cases from the population-based Epidemiological Investigation of risk factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA) study (2006–2009, N=495) with clinical follow-up in the Swedish Rheumatology Quality Register. At diagnosis, 93% received disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) (86% methotrexate). The odds of achieving a good response according to the DAS28-based European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) criteria, low disease activity (DAS28<3.2), remission (DAS28<2.6) or pain remission (visual analogue scale ≤20 mm) at 3-months and 6-months follow-up, were calculated using logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounders.

Results Significant dose-response relationships were found between Body Mass Index (BMI) and change of disease activity as well as pain at both time points. Patients with BMI ≥25 had 51% lower odds of achieving low disease activity (odds ratio (OR=0.49 (95% CI 0.31 to 0.78)) and 42% lower odds of remission (OR=0.58 (95% CI 0.37 to 0.92)) at the 6-months visit, compared to normal-weight patients. This effect was also present at 3 months, where we also found a 43% decreased odds of pain remission (OR=0.57 (95% CI 0.37 to 0.88)). No effect modification was found for anti-citrullinated protein antibody (CCP)-status, sex, prednisolone treatment or DAS28 at diagnosis.

Conclusions Overweight at diagnosis significantly decreases the chance of achieving good disease control during the early phase of RA.