Influence of Multimorbidity on New Treatment Initiation and Achieving Target Disease Activity Thresholds in Active Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Cohort Study Using the Rheumatology Informatics System for Effectiveness Registry

Academic Article


  • Objective: To determine whether multimorbidity is associated with treatment changes and achieving target disease activity thresholds in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adults with active RA within the Rheumatology Informatics System for Effectiveness (RISE) registry. Multimorbidity was measured using RxRisk, a medication-based index of chronic disease. We used multivariable logistic regression models to assess the associations of multimorbidity with the odds of initiating a new disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) in active RA, and among those initiating a new DMARD, the odds of achieving low disease activity or remission. Results: We identified 15,626 patients using the Routine Assessment of Patient Index Data 3 (RAPID3) cohort and 5,733 patients using the Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) cohort. All patients had active RA, of which 1,558 (RAPID3) and 834 (CDAI) initiated a new DMARD and had follow-up disease activity measures. Patients were middle aged, female, and predominantly White, and on average received medications from 6 to 7 RxRisk categories. Multimorbidity was not associated with new DMARD initiation in active RA. However, a greater burden of multimorbidity was associated with lower odds of achieving treatment targets (per 1-unit RxRisk: RAPID3 cohort odds ratio [OR] 0.95 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.91, 0.98]; CDAI cohort OR 0.94 [95% CI 0.90, 0.99]). Those with the highest burden of multimorbidity had the lowest odds of achieving target RA disease activity (RAPID3 cohort OR 0.54 [95% CI 0.34, 0.85]; CDAI cohort OR 0.65 [95% CI 0.37, 1.15]). Conclusion: These findings from a large, real-world registry illustrate the potential impact of multimorbidity on treatment response and indicate that a more holistic management approach targeting multimorbidity may be needed to optimize RA disease control in these patients.
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  • England BR; Yun H; Chen L; Vanderbleek J; Michaud K; Mikuls TR; Curtis JR