Background Introduction of biological agents in the last 15 years lead to significant advances in the treatment of many rheumatic diseases. These novel agents enable dramatic improvements in patients' socio-economic life in addition to reduction in pain, improvement in physical functions and quality of life.
Objectives The purpose of this study is to investigate positive effects of biologic agents in social, family and business life.
Methods Patients who were using biological agents (adalimumab, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab and rituximab) at least for 3 months with the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) were enrolled to the study. The demographic features, disease and biologic usage duration, previous biologic treatments and side effects were recorded to a special form. General anxiety levels evaluated with state and trait anxiety inventory (STAI). Patients' anxiety levels about biological treatments were evaluated with visual analog scale (0-10 cm) and multiple-choice questions were asked to determine their thoughts related to the drug side effects.
Results A total of 473 patients (256 female-52.1% and 217 male-47.9%) with the diagnosis of RA (n:132), AS (n:239) and PsA (n: 40) were enrolled to the study. Ninety five patients were using adalimumab, 140 patients were using etanercept, 42 patients golimumab, 132 patients infliximab and 44 patients were using rituximab at the time of study. Most of the patients (88.7%) were eager about using biologic treatments and 87% of patients were thinking that their wellness is related to their drug. 84.5% of patients reported improvement in their family life, 86.3% in social life and 82.% of patients reported reduction in the number of absenteeism of work (Table 1). Approximately half of the patients were expressed their feelings with positive emotions like, “I felt good”, “I felt very happy”, “my pain was reduced”, “I was relieved”, “I felt the joy of life” under biologic therapy.
Conclusions Besides clinical, radiological and functional improvements, biological therapies provide valuable improvement in psychosocial status of the patients. Patients and physicians expectations from the treatment may vary accordingly. Thus, positive effects in family, social and business life may be the primary goal of the treatment for the patients.
The results obtained from this study shed light on positive experiences and expectations of patients' about the biologic treatments. In clinical practice, when managing treatment targets according to disease activity, treatment effects on psychosocial factors should not be ignored.
Marshall NJ, Wilson G, Lapworth K, Kay LJ. Patients' perceptions of treatment with anti-TNF therapy for rheumatoid arthritis: a qualitative stud, Rheumatology, 2004 Aug;43(8):1034-8. Epub 2004 May 18
Arkell P, Ryan S, Brownfield A, Cadwgan A, Packham J. Patient experiences, attitudes and expectations towards receiving information about anti-TNF medication – “It could give me two heads and I'd still try it!”. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2013 May 10;14:165
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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