Disease progression and treatment responses in a prospective DMARD-naive seropositive early rheumatoid arthritis cohort: Does gender matter?

Damini Jawaheer*, Paul Maranian, Grace Park, Maureen Lahiff, Sogol S. Amjadi, Harold E. Paulus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective. To assess gender differences in disease characteristics and treatment responses over time in a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD)-naive seropositive early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cohort. Methods. Patients with polyarticular disease who were DMARD-naive and had seropositive early RA (< 14 months) were recruited by the Western Consortium of Practicing Rheumatologists. Each patient was examined at study entry, after 6 and 12 months, and yearly thereafter. Clinical and demographic data were collected. We investigated gender differences in baseline disease characteristics and treatment using chi-squared, Mann-Whitney U, and t tests. We used generalized estimating equations (GEE) models for repeated measures to examine whether the rate of change of specific disease outcomes during the first 2 years after DMARD initiation was significantly influenced by gender. Results. At baseline, men (n = 67) and women (n = 225) had similar disease activity and radiographic damage; men, however, had significantly worse erosion, while women had worse joint space narrowing. Despite similar treatment, women had worse disease progression over the 2-year follow-up, as assessed by trends in Disease Activity Score 28/erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR4), physician global scores, and tender joint counts. In the GEE model, gender was significantly associated with the rate of change of DAS28-ESR4 scores (p = 0.009), although not independently associated with disease activity. Self-reported measures (Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index, patient global scores, fatigue, pain) were worse among women at baseline and throughout the study period. Men were more likely to achieve remission. Conclusion. At baseline, men and women had similar disease activity and joint damage. Responses to treatment over time were better among men in this prebiologic era; women had worse progression despite similar treatment. The Journal of Rheumatology

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2475-2485
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Gender
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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