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Consequences of inflammatory arthritis for workplace productivity loss and sick leave: a systematic review
  1. Marie-Louise B Lenssinck1,2,
  2. Alex Burdorf1,
  3. Annelies Boonen3,
  4. Monique A Gignac4,
  5. Johanna M W Hazes2,
  6. Jolanda J Luime2
  1. 1Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Rheumatology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University Hospital Maastricht and Caphri Research Institute, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  4. 4Arthritis Community Research & Evaluation Unit, Toronto Western Research Institute and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jolanda J Luime, Department of Rheumatology, Erasmus MC, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam The Netherlands; j.luime{at}


Objective To review the occurrence and magnitude of workplace productivity loss and sick leave in inflammatory arthritis (IA) patients and to identify determinants.

Methods PubMed, EMbase, PsycINFO and CINAHL articles to July 2012 on IA and workplace productivity loss or sick leave were reviewed. Methodological quality was assessed by a criteria list developed by the authors.

Results 47 original studies were identified. The occurrence of sick leave in IA patients varied from 3.7% in the past 4 days to 84% in the past 2.5 years. Total duration of sick leave ranged from 0.1 to 11 days over 1 month. Pain and functional disability were associated with sick leave and workplace productivity loss. About 17%–88% of IA patients experienced workplace productivity loss, four studies investigated determinants. Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors were associated with reduced workplace productivity loss and sick leave.

Conclusions IA impacts worker productivity, but its estimated magnitude varies. Higher levels of sick leave and workplace productivity loss were reported for increased levels of pain and decreased levels of functional ability.

  • Arthritis
  • Social work
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
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