Pain is the most important predictor of psychosocial health in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to researchers at the University Hospitals of Geneva and University of Geneva in Switzerland. Included in the study were 15,282 patients with RA in a Swiss and a US cohort who completed a Short Form 36 (SF-36) scale at least twice within a 4-year period. Psychosocial health as measured by the mental component summary score of the SF-36 was the primary outcome. Pain was the most important predictor of both the stable and variable components of psychosocial health, explaining about 44% of the observed psychosocial health variance.
The findings suggest that overall pain relief is insufficient and independent of the control of disease activity and that physicians should place greater emphasis on pain management. The study appeared in a recent issue of Arthritis Care & Research, an American College of Rheumatology publication.