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New Survey Findings Reveal Emotional and Physical Toll of Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Advancement of Treatment Through 'Generations'

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 General News J E 4
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HORSHAM, Pa., July 15 Emotional and physical limitationsare significant challenges cited by people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis(RA), according to the results released today from two new, groundbreakingparallel surveys. According to the GeneRAtions(TM) surveys -- one of whichincludes feedback from more than 1,000 people living with RA and a second thatpolled more than 300 physicians specializing in the treatment of RA -- peoplewith RA felt sad or depressed because of their disease an average of 25 daysin three months and had difficulty with normal daily activities for 31 days inthe same time period.(1) The surveys form the basis of a new diseaseawareness initiative, GeneRAtions, which is focused on increasingunderstanding of RA through the perspectives of varying "RA generations" --people who have lived with or physicians who have treated RA for differentlengths of time over a 30-year span.

"It's difficult to explain to people, even as a former Olympic athlete,why I sometimes struggle because of my RA. Many people don't understand howgreat the mental and physical challenges can be when living with thiscondition," said Joy Fawcett, Olympic gold medalist and retired member of theU.S. Women's Soccer Team, who has been living with RA for more than a decade,and is a spokesperson for the GeneRAtions program, developed by Centocor, Inc."I'm fortunate that in the 10 years since my diagnosis, education andtreatment for the disease have improved, but we need to continue thismomentum."

The GeneRAtions surveys, conducted by Manhattan Research and supported byCentocor, Inc., are the first to provide new insights into the physical,emotional and social effects -- including the impact of RA on relationships,work, and overall daily living -- of a debilitating disease that affects 1.3million Americans. The survey results also highlight changes in physicians'approaches to treating RA over the past 30 years, the progress that has beenmade in managing the disease, particularly because of important treatmentadvances in the past decade, as well as patient and physician perspectivesabout the future of treatment. Key findings revealed that:

-- More than 90 percent of people with RA surveyed reported that theirdisease interfered with their work in the last three months, illustrating howRA can impede many facets of people's lives.(2)

-- Physicians surveyed rated limitations on physical activities as themost restrictive consequence of RA for their patients.(3)

-- More than half of patients surveyed agreed that the public does notunderstand the difference between RA, a chronic autoimmune disorder, andosteoarthritis, which results from wear and tear on the joints.(4)

-- Two out of three of all patients surveyed believed that friends andfamily underestimate the impact of RA. More than half of all respondents feltthat their doctors do not fully understand the impact of RA on their patients.(5,6)

-- While nearly three out of five RA patients are satisfied with theirphysician's ability to effectively treat their RA with current therapies, morethan 80 percent are looking forward to the future for new innovative options.(7,8)

Comprehensive survey findings, as well as testimonials from people livingwith RA and physicians sharing their own personal experiences related to thedisease, are available on the program website, www.RAGeneRAtions.com.

"The specialty of rheumatology has made tremendous strides over the last30 years when my father, also a rheumatologist, was practicing and aspirin wasthe standard treatment. Today the standard treatment for people living withmoderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis includes disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic therapies that inhibit specific proteinslike tumor necrosis factor (TNF)," said Hayes Wilson, MD, Chief ofRheumatology, Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta,
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