Paula Andrade, Jose A Sacristan, Maria Luz Rentero, Volker Hammen and Tatiana Dilla
Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease with an estimated prevalence of 0.2- 1.1%. Fatigue, swelling and deformation of the joints are complications of RA that lead to physical dysfunction and a considerable economic burden. The objective of this review was to bring together and analyze the Spanish publications on the burden of RA in Spain in terms of frequency, associated comorbidities, impact on quality of life, and associated costs.
Methods: A search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE (2000 to 2014), and in the reference lists of previous reviews. We identified 18 publications of interest in the Spanish setting.
Results: After an analysis of the literature, we found that RA in Spain has a prevalence of 0.50% and an incidence of 0.08 to 0.20 cases/1000 person-years. The most common comorbidities associated with RA are dyslipidemia, hypertension, depression and diabetes. In addition, RA is associated with an excess mortality of 85% compared to the general population. With regard to quality of life, RA has a significant negative effect on its physical component. Economic studies showed that the annual cost per patient varies depending on the study (€3,600 to €11,707 in 2002). The largest component of RA annual cost is direct costs, representing 70-75% of the total.
Conclusion: RA in Spain is associated with impaired quality of life, increased disability and costs, and increased mortality. Epidemiological data indicate that the frequency of RA in Spain is similar to that of other developed countries