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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2002 June;93(3):199-202


language: English

The assessment of quality of life as a measure of gold salts treatment efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis

Fumagalli M., Incorvaia C., Nitti F., Broggini M., Baratelli E., Balzarini P., Galvani L., Romagnoni G. G.


Background. In the evaluation of functional status of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) the health related quality of life is currently considered important because of its approach to various components of life, such as social, psychological, and physical aspects. We used the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) to assess the improvement of functional status in patients with RA treated with gold salts.
Methods. In a prospective investigation 91 patients with RA in anatomical stage I, II, or III, 66 females and 25 males, with a mean age of 53.17 years, were evaluated during medical treatment in a 1-year follow-up. The treatment consisted in sodium aureothiosulphate, plus corticosteroids and NSAID. The assessments were done during ambulatory visits, at baseline and after 6 and 12 months of treatment, by HAQ as well as by other parameters such as Ritchie Index, visual analog scale (VAS), and morning stiffness. A group of 19 RA patients included by the same criteria and treated only by corticosteroids and NSAID was used as control for the first 6 months of the study.
Results. HAQ scores and other parameters were significantly lower (p=0.0001) at the 6th and 12th month measurements when compared with baseline. In the control group only a significant difference in the VAS score was detected.
Conclusions. All the parameters measured in our study were useful in detecting clinical improvement in RA patients treated with sodium aureothiosulphate plus corticosteroids and NSAIDs, but the HAQ provides a more global assessment of the patient's status.

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