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In RA, a person's immune system attacks healthy cells, causing painful swelling in affected parts of the body, primarily in the joints. It can cause tissue damage resulting in chronic pain, unsteadiness, and physical disability.1 Symptoms of RA can include pain, stiffness and swelling in more than one joint, fatigue and weakness.1
A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can strike in early adulthood or later in life.2 Regardless of when it happens, for many people with the condition it marks the beginning of a long process of adapting to the reality of the disease that remains degenerative and, for the moment, not curable. A diagnosis of RA signals the start of a long treatment journey that can include diminishing benefits of treatments and high individual dissatisfaction.3
Over 2.3 million people are living with RA in Europe today4 and it is recognised as a condition that can cause debilitating physical pain, affect mental health and require chronic care5. People living with RA are looking for ways to manage the burden of their disease while preserving what makes them, ‘them’: to be recognised as a person with a full life, beyond being a patient.
I just want to regain a semblance of life as it was before, and to live like a bit like the others.
person living with RA France
You see your body transforming at some point you can no longer fasten your shoe, do things that look so basic and ask yourself what's happening to me.
person living with RA Italy
We are rising to the challenge to help people with RA live their best life by focusing on understanding the different dimensions of treatment needs they say is important. In our drive to deliver innovation we are focused on listening and facilitating conversations to provide insight and reflect a deeper understanding of their lives and needs.
For example, in a recent study, RA patients ranked pain, fatigue and physical functioning as important unmet needs. 6 With these key insights, we will continue to focus on understanding what matters most to people living with RA.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid-arthritis.html. Accessed December 2021.
2 Kobak S, Bes C. An autumn tale: geriatric rheumatoid arthritis. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2018;10(1):3-11. doi:10.1177/1759720X17740075
3 Taylor PC, Moore A, Vasilescu R, Alvir J, Tarallo M. A structured literature review of the burden of illness and unmet needs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a current perspective. Rheumatology International. 2016;36(5):685-95
4 Galloway J, Capron JP, De Leonardis F, et al. The impact of disease severity and duration on cost, early retirement and ability to work in rheumatoid arthritis in Europe: an economic modelling study. Rheumatol Adv Pract. 2020;4(2):rkaa041. Published 2020 Sep 16. doi:10.1093/rap/rkaa041
5 Gilead Sciences, Inc. Data on File. 2019.
6 Taylor PC, Moore A, Vasilescu R, Alvir J, Tarallo M. A structured literature review of the burden of illness and unmet needs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a current perspective. Rheumatology International. 2016;36(5):685-95