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For rheumatoid arthritis patients, goals and targets count

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    What’s interesting is that while the majority of patients surveyed (87%) agreed with this, almost as many (73%) stated that their healthcare professional (HCP) did not discuss approaches that achieved personal targets.

    The results from the ‘Getting to Your Destination Faster’ Survey, were presented during the Annual Meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) in London, May 25-28.1

    The study, which surveyed people living with RA in six countries, showed that while many patients felt that a personalised targeted approach was not discussed, the majority of patients (62%) agreed that decisions about how to treat their RA were generally shared between the HCP and themselves.

    The results indicate that patients would like further help from HCPs to determine and set goals to assess for themselves whether a treatment is working or not.1

    These findings reflect the recent EULAR recommendations for the management of RA2 , which state that treatment of patients with RA must be based on a shared decision between the patient and the rheumatologist, and that treatment targets should be established early and reached within 3-6 months if possible.2

    “As the range of therapeutic options for management of RA expands, the expectations of RA patients will increase correspondingly. The insights gained from this study should provide invaluable insights that will guide patients with RA and their healthcare providers towards continual improvement in management strategies with the goal of optimising quality of life,” said lead investigator Professor Peter C. Taylor, Head of Clinical Trials and Campus Dean, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, UK.

    A previous study (the ‘Good Days’ Survey) examined the impact of RA on daily life and showed that the disease has a negative impact on employment, productivity, emotions and intimate relationships, and causes patients to feel isolated.3
     
    This follow up survey was conducted to examine patients’ expectations of treatment and outcomes in RA care, particularly their awareness of targeted treatment goals and their treatment goal setting practices.

    Respondents were asked the length of time they expected to feel an improvement when given a medicine. The majority of respondents (75%), when given a medicine for their RA signs and symptoms, expected to feel an improvement within 3 months, with 20% citing 3-6 months and only 5% expecting to wait over 6 months to feel an improvement.

    Regarding how long respondents would wait to speak to their HCP if they felt a new treatment was not working, the majority of respondents (56%) said that they would wait 1 month or less. Additionally, over half (54%) respondents said finding the right treatment option was the biggest obstacle in controlling their RA symptoms.1

    The survey explored respondents’ awareness of goal setting practices. Results showed when starting a new treatment, 81% of respondents set personal or social goals, and 91% set treatment goals.

    Importantly, 80% felt setting personal and social goals would be of benefit to assess whether a treatment was working. The majority of respondents (64%) agreed that a targeted approach to successful management was setting personal, lifestyle and treatment goals, and monitoring progress to achieve them.1 The majority of respondents (84%) believed that a treatment works if it helps them achieve their personal/social goals fast.1

    References
    1. Taylor P et al. Expectations of treatment goals and goal setting practices in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Poster # FRI0256
    2. Smolen J et al. EULAR recommendation for the management of rheumatoid arthritis with synthetic and biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Ann Rheum Dis (2010). 2010 Jun;69(6):964-75. Epub 2010 May 5
    3. Strand V, et al. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62(suppl 10):S443.

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