Rheumatoid Arthritis Remission Less Likely in Women

At five years, 52 percent of men were in remission compared with 31 percent of women

MONDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Female rheumatoid arthritis patients are less likely to achieve remission than their male counterparts, even though both sexes have similar disease levels initially, according to study findings published online Dec. 7 in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

Kristina Forslind, M.D., of Helsingborgs Lasarett in Helsingborg, Sweden, and colleagues tracked remission rates among 698 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis. Of these, 64 percent were female. Remission was defined as a disease activity score of less than 2.6 with or without ongoing drug therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.

After two years, 37.9 percent of patients had achieved remission and after five years, 38.5 percent of patients were in remission. Just 26.1 percent of patients were in remission at both time points studied. Men were more likely than women to be in remission at both time points. At two years, 32 percent of women were in remission, compared with 48 percent of men. At five years, slightly less than 31 percent of women were in remission, compared with 52 percent of men. Female patients did not have more severe disease than men initially, the researchers point out.

"The reasons for this discrepancy are presently unclear and merit further investigation," the authors conclude.

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