High-Intensity Interval Training Has No Effect on Disease Activity in Psoriatic Arthritis

person walking on treadmill
person walking on treadmill
High-intensity interval training showed no clear effects on disease activity markers in patients with psoriatic arthritis.

Although high-intensity interval training (HIIT) does not demonstrate any clear effects on disease activity markers or pain among patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), those who performed HIIT did report less fatigue, according to the results of a randomized, controlled study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02995460) published in Arthritis Care & Research.

The investigators sought to assess the effect of HIIT on disease activity and disease perception among patients with PsA, examining whether a potential effect could be sustained for a longer period of time. A total of 67 patients with PsA (43 women and 24 men) were randomly assigned to an intervention group that performed HIIT for 11 weeks or to a control group that was instructed not to change physical exercise habits.

All eligible patients were between 18 and 65 years and met the Classification for Psoriatic Arthritis criteria. Outcome measures were evaluated at 3 and 9 months using the patient global assessment (PGA), and fatigue and pain were measured on a 100-mm visual analog scale. Researchers also calculated the composite disease activity score in 44 joints (DAS44).

At 3 months, no difference in PGA (mean difference, –0.49; 95% CI, –10.91 to 9.94), DAS44 (mean difference, –0.08; 95% CI, –0.36 to 0.20), or pain intensity (mean difference, 5.45; 95% CI, –4.36 to 15.26) was observed between the HIIT intervention and the control groups. Patients in the HIIT group, however, reported less fatigue (mean difference, –12.83; 95% CI, –25.88 to 0.23; P =.05) compared with those in the control group. There were no clinically important differences reported between the 2 groups at 9 months.

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The investigators concluded that the use of HIIT was well tolerated among patients with PsA. The benefit does not last, however, if HIIT is not maintained. Therefore, a goal and a challenge for healthcare professionals who treat individuals with PsA should be to motivate and encourage their patients to remain physically active.

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Thomsen RS, Nilsen TIL, Haugeberg G, Bye A, Kavanaugh A, Hoff M. The impact of high intensity interval training on disease activity and patient disease perception in patients with psoriatic arthritis: a randomized controlled trial [published online June 8, 2018]. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). doi: 10.1002/acr.23614