Largest Global Survey of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Shows Opportunity for Increased Collaboration Between Doctors And Patients And Further Education About Disease Progression

Multinational, Multidisciplinary Expert Panel Reveals Survey Findings, Asks Patients to Take Pledge as Part of RA: Join the Fight, an AbbVie Global Initiative

MADRID, June 11, 2013 /CNW/ - RA: Join the Fight today presented at a launch event in Madrid the findings from the largest global rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient survey, which included 10,171 patients across 42 countries. Findings show that while a majority of RA patients (74 percent) say they know a great deal or a moderate amount about RA, nearly half (46 percent) do not recognize that the joint damage caused by the disease is irreversible. This anonymous survey also found that, compared to those that do not have a disease management plan, patients who have a disease management plan with their healthcare provider were nearly twice as likely to feel hopeful (39 percent vs. 23 percent) and confident (31 percent vs. 16 percent) when asked how they felt about living with their RA over the past week.

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The survey findings highlight knowledge gaps between what patients may know about RA and how they are managing their disease. Although about nine in ten patients (91 percent) say that they have a good understanding of why it is important to manage their RA, as many as two in three (66 percent) mistakenly agree that a lack of pain means their RA is under control. In addition, patients who are more involved in the RA community, including those that are members of patient advocacy organizations and those that interact with other RA patients, are more likely to be knowledgeable about RA and more actively involved in managing their disease. The survey also reported that about two in five RA patients (41 percent) say that their job/career or ability to work was negatively impacted by their RA, and one in three of these patients say they have had to take days off (33 percent) or stop working altogether for a period of time (32 percent).

"I was surprised to see that although more than four in five patients recognize that RA is a severe, progressive and destructive disease, only 56 percent have a disease management plan in place," said Peter Nash, MBBS, FRACP, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Queensland, Australia and RA: Join the Fight advisory committee member. "There is clearly a need for patients and doctors to work together to develop a long-term strategy to manage RA. If not managed properly, over time, advanced RA can result in permanent joint destruction, disability and loss of work."

At the heart of RA: Join the Fight is a pledge. With the endorsement of its global advisory committee and more than 40 patient and medical organizations from around the world, RA: Join the Fight is issuing a call-to-action for increased patient involvement in RA disease management. Patients are encouraged to visit to take the pledge to start the conversation and collaborate with their doctor to develop a plan to manage their disease.

"It is interesting to see aspects of my personal experiences as someone living with RA reflected through the lens of more than ten thousand others worldwide," said Claire Kinneavy, RA patient, RA: Join the Fight advisory committee member, past director of Arthritis Ireland. "The more you are involved with the management of your disease, the more in control you will feel about it. That's why we are asking people living with RA to pledge to talk to their doctor about their experiences with RA and their goals for the future."

About the Survey
The anonymous global RA patient survey was conducted by Harris Interactive in 42 countries via paper (six countries) and online (36 countries) between February 14 and April 11, 2013. The survey evaluated results from more than 10,000 adults with RA from around the world (n=10,171). Survey respondents have been living with a diagnosis of RA for an average of nine years, and were more likely to be women than men (74 percent vs. 26 percent), with a mean age of 49.8 years old. Complete survey methodology, including sample size per country, is available upon request.

About RA: Join the Fight
RA: Join the Fight, an AbbVie global initiative, aims to be a global source of information to help educate people living with RA and those who support them. RA: Join the Fight, endorsed by more than 40 advocacy organizations from around the world, is a collaborative global effort, with expert partners – patients, physicians, nurses and researchers – involved in the development and implementation of the initiative's resources and programs. Visit to learn more.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly attacks healthy joints, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and over time, loss of function in the joints, as well as overall fatigue and weakness.1,2,3 RA may also cause premature mortality, disability and compromised quality of life.4 The onset of RA usually occurs in people between the ages of 25 and 55 years old, though it can occur at virtually any age.1,2 Typically, RA affects women more than men, with three times as many women suffering from the disease.2,5 Many people living with RA have difficulty performing common everyday tasks, like opening a jar or turning a doorknob.3

About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases. In 2013, AbbVie employs approximately 21,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.


1. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 4/9/13

2. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 4/9/13

3. Arthritis Foundation. How Will Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect You? Accessed 4/9/13

4. Brooks PM. The burden of musculoskeletal disease--a global perspective. Clin Rheumatol. 2006 Nov;25(6):778-81.

5. American College of Rheumatology. Rheumatoid Arthritis Fact Sheet. Accessed 4/9/13


For further information:

Javier Boix, AbbVie, +1 847-937-6113,

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