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More Pain in Erosive OA Than OA/Inflammatory Arthritis

Patients with erosive osteoarthritis also show trend toward more functional impairment

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with erosive osteoarthritis (EOA) have significantly more pain and more functional impairment than those with osteoarthritis (OA) or inflammatory arthritis, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Ruth Wittoek, M.D., Ph.D., from the University Hospital Ghent in Belgium, and colleagues investigated pain and functional limitations in non-erosive and EOA of the interphalangeal finger joints and controlled inflammatory arthritis affecting the hands. A total of 270 patients with OA of the hands and 79 patients with inflammatory arthritis and a low disease activity score were included. Levels of functional impairment were measured using the Functional Index for Hand Osteoarthritis (FIHOA) and the Australian/Canadian Osteoarthritis Hand Index (AUSCAN), and along with pain scores, were compared between the groups. Generalized linear models were used to evaluate the predictors of functional impairment in EOA.

The investigators classified 167 patients with EOA. Patients with EOA had almost 60 percent more intake of analgesics, but showed worse functional outcomes and pain scores than those with non-erosive OA or controlled inflammatory arthritis. After adjustment for potential confounders, pain scores remained significantly higher in EOA. There was a trend toward more disability in FIHOA and AUSCAN function scores. The largest predictors of functional impairment in EOA were female gender and the number of destructive joints. Functional status in EOA was not influenced by the carpometacarpal joints being affected.

"Among patients referred to a rheumatology clinic, patients with EOA showed more functional impairment and significantly more pain compared to patients with controlled inflammatory arthritis affecting the hands," the authors write.

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