Friday Finding: RA Medication May Decrease Fatigue

Rheumatoid arthritis causes many chronic symptoms—some physical and some less tangible. One of the most common intangible symptoms is chronic fatigue.

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Treating other symptoms of RA may also help treat fatigue.

A new study offers hope that a class of medication used to treat RA may be have the added benefit of relieving fatigue.

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As reported in the journal Rheumatology, researchers examined the records of nearly 7,000 RA patients who had severe fatigue and were just beginning treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) biologics.

See Biologics for RA and Other Autoimmune Conditions

After 6 months, 70% of the participants recorded improvement in their fatigue levels, and 66% of them moved out of the category of having severe fatigue. The participants most likely to experience improvement in fatigue levels were women who were employed and had a low level of disability.1

The researchers point out that these results support anecdotal evidence and other findings that fatigue improves after patients begin taking anti-TNF medications. However, more research is needed. Also, the results of research about fatigue are hard to verify, because there is no reliable, standardized way to clinically measure fatigue.

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Reference
  1. Patients receiving anti-TNF therapies experience clinically important improvements in RA–related fatigue: results from the British Society of Rheumatology Biologics Register for Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatology (2014) doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keu390
Post written by Carrie DeVries