Associations of gender with sexual functioning, loneliness, depression, fatigue and physical function amongst patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis with a particular focus on methotrexate usage

Laila T. Bay*, Dorthe S. Nielsen, Caroline Flurey, Annamaria Giraldi, Sören Möller, Christian Graugaard, Torkell Ellingsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

There is a lack of knowledge regarding methotrexate (MTX) usage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its possible links with gender, disease characterization and sexual functioning, loneliness, fatigue and depression. We, therefore, investigated the associations of gender with physical function, fatigue, depression, loneliness and sexual functioning with a particular focus on MTX usage. A cross-sectional study design was used. Inclusion criteria were RA diagnosis, age above 18 years and available data on MTX treatment 1 year after diagnosis. Data consisted of responses from validated questionnaires regarding physical function, fatigue, depression, loneliness and sexual functioning combined with evaluations from medical records. Data were analysed with linear regression models comparing numerical outcome measures between male and female patients and between MTX users and MTX non-users. Amongst 286 patients with RA (69 men and 217 women), 67.8% were MTX users 1 year after diagnosis. Comparing women and men, both overall and within subgroups of MTX usage, we found significantly more adverse outcomes for women than men in physical functioning at diagnosis and in sexual function, depression, fatigue and physical functioning at enrolment in the study. Gender differences were also present when comparing MTX users with MTX non-users divided by gender. There were only significant differences in the HAQ and loneliness scores when comparing MTX users with MTX non-users. Women with RA had more negative outcomes measured by the selected PROMs compared to men with RA, both overall and in subgroups of users and non-users of MTX. These findings call for sharpened attention to the importance of gender in the treatment and care of patients with RA, as well as in future clinical research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRheumatology International
Volume44
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)919-931
Number of pages13
ISSN0172-8172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024. The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Antirheumatic Agents/adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression
  • Fatigue/complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness
  • Male
  • Methotrexate/adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • cross-sectional analyses
  • Patient-reported outcome measures
  • Methotrexate

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