In postmenopausal women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), functional disability progression occurs more rapidly compared with in premenopausal women, according to results from a study published in Rheumatology.

Researchers conducted a retrospective observational cohort study examining data from the Swiss Clinical Quality Management in Rheumatoid Arthritis register, which contains patient and disease information from 1996 to 2017. The cohort was composed of 1667 women, consisting of 39% and 61%, respectively, pre- and postmenopausal patients with RA. Investigators compared the functional progression between both groups, using the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and erosion scores, which were adjusted for confounders.

After regression analysis, researchers found that when compared at baseline, premenopausal women exhibited lower HAQ and erosion scores than postmenopausal women. In addition, postmenopausal women showed a worse progression in HAQ scores over time when compared with premenopausal women (P <.001). The investigators also reported that erosion scores over time did not differ between both groups.

The primary study limitation was the self-reported nature of patient factors, increasing the risk for recall bias.

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“Our findings suggest a less favourable evolution of functional disability in post-menopausal women. While differences between groups were statistically significant, the difference may not be clinically meaningful,” the researchers wrote.

Further studies are needed to fully understand the links among RA, functional disability progression, and menopause.

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Reference

Alpizar-Rodriguez D, Forger F, Courvoisier DS, Gabay C, Finckh A. Role of reproductive and menopausal factors in functional and structural progression of rheumatoid arthritis: results from the SCQM cohort [published online October 31, 2018]. Rheumatology. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/key311

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor