Largest Global Survey Of People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Reveals Need For Increased Education

RA: Join the Fight Convenes Panel to Unveil Survey Findings, Provide New Resources for Latin Americans with RA

Mar 18, 2014, 07:00 ET from AbbVie

PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- RA: Join the Fight today is convening a panel of rheumatology experts at the Pan-American League of Associations for Rheumatology (PANLAR) Congress to unveil findings from a global survey of more than 10,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on the impact of the condition in Latin America. The survey revealed nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of people with RA in Latin America mistakenly believe that as long as they experience no pain, their RA is under control. Additionally, more than half (55 percent) do not realize that joint damage caused by their disease is irreversible.

"These survey findings highlight the need to improve patient education on the long-term and potentially irreversible effects of RA," said John Reveille, MD, President, PANLAR. "We're working with RA: Join the Fight to bring together leaders in rheumatology to develop solutions that educate and empower people with RA to play a more proactive role in their care."

Results from the survey also underscored the personal and economic burden of RA in Latin America. Nearly 1 in 3 adults with RA (32 percent) indicated the condition has negatively impacted their relationships. More than 1 in 3 (35 percent) said it has negatively impacted their job/career. Of those who reported an impact on their job/career, 85 percent said that the effect is moderate to severe.

Despite the personal and economic impact, people with RA in Latin America may not be taking the necessary steps to manage their condition. According to the survey, adults with RA in Latin America experience symptoms for nearly two years before receiving a proper diagnosis. Additionally, more than half of survey respondents mistakenly believe the progression of RA can't be changed, regardless of how and when it is managed.

"If not managed properly, advanced RA can result in permanent joint destruction, disability and loss of work," said Luis Nudelman, Regional Medical Affairs Head – Latin America, AbbVie. "Working with leaders in rheumatology as part of RA: Join the Fight, we're helping provide innovative solutions to connect patients and physicians and ultimately reduce the burden of the disease on patients, caregivers, families and communities."

A disease management plan developed by patients and physicians together can help improve the long-term management of RA. RA: Join the Fight encourages those living with RA to start the conversation with their physicians, share their personal goals and develop a disease management plan. Visit RA: Join the Fight to download tools and information including a patient-physician discussion guide to help people with RA discuss how to improve their care with their physicians.

About the Survey
The anonymous global RA patient survey was conducted by Harris Interactive in 42 countries via paper (six countries) and online (36 countries) between February 14 and April 11, 2013. The survey evaluated results from more than 10,000 adults with RA from around the world (n=10,171). Survey respondents had been living with a diagnosis of RA for an average of nine years, and were more likely to be women than men (74 percent vs. 26 percent), with a mean age of 49.8 years old. Complete survey methodology, including sample size per country, is available upon request.

About RA: Join the Fight
A: Join the Fight, an AbbVie global initiative, provides new tools and resources to close awareness and knowledge gaps about RA. Equipped with education and support, people with RA can proactively manage their disease with their physician. RA: Join the Fight, endorsed by more than 40 advocacy organizations from around the world, is a collaborative global effort, with expert partners – patients, physicians, nurses and researchers – involved in the development and implementation of the initiative's resources and programs. Visit to learn more. 

About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly attacks healthy joints, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and over time, loss of function in the joints, as well as overall fatigue and weakness.1,2,3 RA may also cause premature mortality, disability and compromised quality of life.4 The onset of RA usually occurs in people between the ages of 25 and 55 years old, though it can occur at virtually any age.1,2 Typically, RA affects women more than men, with three times as many women suffering from the disease.2,5 Many people living with RA have difficulty performing common everyday tasks, like opening a jar or turning a doorknob.3

About AbbVie's Support for Disease Awareness and Education Programs
AbbVie is committed to holistically impacting the standards of care in rheumatology. As part of the company's commitment to patients, AbbVie provides or supports several disease awareness programs to educate multiple stakeholder groups about rheumatic diseases and their impact, including RA: Join the Fight, Targeted Ultrasound Initiative, Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Training, Universidad Europa de Madrid Spondyloarthritis Master's Degree program, IRU Workshops and Perspectives: Art, Inflammation and Me (for immune mediated inflammatory diseases). Through expertise and deep understanding of these diseases, AbbVie aims to meet the health needs of people and societies around the globe.

About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases. AbbVie employs approximately 25,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.


1. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 4/9/13

2. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 4/9/13

3. Arthritis Foundation. How Will Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect You? Accessed 4/9/13

4. Brooks PM. The burden of musculoskeletal disease--a global perspective. Clin Rheumatol. 2006 Nov;25(6):778-81

5. American College of Rheumatology. Rheumatoid Arthritis Fact Sheet. Accessed 4/9/13