HealthDay News — Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a loss of life expectancy (LE) of 4.97 years, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Ying-Ming Chiu, M.D., Ph.D., from China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, and colleagues obtained all claims data from the National Health Insurance of Taiwan during 1999 to 2016 to estimate the cumulative incidence rate for those aged 16 to 84 years (CIR16-84), LE, loss of LE, and lifetime health care expenditures for incident RA after 2003.

During 2003 to 2016, 29,352 new RA cases were identified. The researchers observed a decreasing trend for CIR16-84 for both genders; LE was 26.3 years for RA, and lifetime cost was $72,953. Loss of LE was 4.97 years for RA patients. Compared with men of the same age, female RA patients seemed to survive one to two years longer, resulting in higher lifetime expenditures for women. The loss of LE for women with RA was higher than for men because the LE of women in Taiwan was six to seven years higher than that seen for men. Similar annual health care expenditures were noted between genders.


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“Future studies are needed to evaluate the effects of biologics on functional disability, quality of life, and cost-effectiveness from a societal perspective that includes productivity loss and/or social services (long-term care, etc.) and to provide evidence for reaching a consensus in the policy decision for RA treatment,” the authors write.

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