Comparison of health-related quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis during conventional or conventional plus biological therapy in Poland

The main purpose of this study was to compare the level of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) in Polish patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during therapy applying disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) with conventional synthetics (csDMARDs) or with csDMARDs in combination with biological drugs (bDMARDs). The second purpose was to analyze the correlation between the domain values of NHP and the demographic and clinical parameters, functional efficiency, and mood.

The studies involved 212 patients with RA, divided into two groups: group I – 126 persons treated using csDMARDs, group II – 86 patients using csDMARDs in combination with bDMARDs. A diagnostic survey was used applying NHP for HRQoL, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). The 28-Joint Disease Activity Score (DAS-28) was calculated.

The patients with RA in both studied groups did not differ significantly in terms of all the NHP domains, values of HAQ and BDI. The DAS-28 value, the number of swollen joints, and the duration of morning stiffness were significantly smaller among patients from group II. However, in both groups, the majority of the analyzed components of NHP demonstrated significant correlations with values of HAQ and BDI and some of the domains of NHP – with DAS-28.

The level of HRQoL, functional efficiency, and mood are comparable in patients treated conventionally and in combination with biological drugs. The HRQoL level shows correlation with the occurrence of depression symptoms, and the energy level, the sensation of pain, and physical abilities are covariates with daily activities. The intensity of the activity of RA as well as experiencing pain and the duration of morning stiffness is smaller among patients applying csDMARDs plus bDMARDs compared with patients treated only conventionally.