A new study presented at the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, EULAR 2013, reveals that obese and overweight rheumatoid arthritis patients displayed lower remission rates and required twice as much drug therapy compared to normal weight patients.
Researchers led by Elisa Gremese, from Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, followed 346 women who had Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (ERA) and who adhered to strict follow-up visits. More than three quarters of the patients were women with 168 patients being normal weight, 135 overweight and 43 obese.
All of the patients received a weekly dose of up to 25mg of methotrexate, with or without steroids, followed by a combination with a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker if a response of good or better. The researchers also recorded the body mass index (BMI) of the patients along with ACR/EULAR core data while clinical remission was evaluated on each visit.
The researchers found that lower remission rates were sustained for a longer period among overweight and obese patients with more number of patients also undergoing anti-TNF therapy for 12 months of follow-up compared to normal weight patients. "Data suggest that in ERA patients, not only obesity but also overweight, associates with a lower percentage of success in obtaining remission", the researchers wrote in their report.