In a nutshell
This study investigated if behavioral therapy improves fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They found that behavioral therapy reduced fatigue in patients with RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term condition caused by inflammation. It leads to painful swelling in the joints and disability. Fatigue (tiredness) is another common RA symptom. It is unclear what causes fatigue in RA. It may be caused by inflammation. It may also be a secondary symptom of pain. Improving fatigue in RA is important to improve the quality of life (QOL).
Studies suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may improve fatigue management. CBT is performed by a clinical psychologist (CP). Most patients with RA do not regularly see a CP. RAFT (Reducing Arthritis Fatigue) is a program designed by CPs. It can be used to manage RA fatigue. It may be suitable for doctors to treat fatigue in RA.
Methods & findings
This study included 308 patients with RA. All patients maintained their drug therapy during the trial. Patients were randomly assigned to undergo RAFT or standard care. Standard care involved self-management using an information booklet. The RAFT program involved a weekly 2-hour session. This took place over 6 weeks. A final 1-hour session took place on week 14. Patients were evaluated at 26 weeks. Fatigue was measured using a standardized scale. Other symptoms such as pain, QOL and disease activity were also measured.
Patients that underwent RAFT had improved questionnaire scores. This means that fatigue was reduced. 89% of RAFT patients reported satisfaction after 2 years. 54% of standard care patients reported satisfaction after 2 years. Women and patients with higher disease activity were less likely to find benefit from RAFT.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that behavioral therapy reduced fatigue in patients with RA.
The fine print
This study was relatively short. It is unclear if RAFT could be useful for managing fatigue long-term.
If you have any concerns regarding RA treatment, please consult with your physician.
Published By :
Annals of the rheumatic diseases
Feb 06, 2019
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