Factors influencing the beliefs of patients with rheumatoid arthritis regarding disease-modifying medication

L J Goodacre, J A Goodacre


To investigate factors influencing the beliefs of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) regarding disease-modifying medication. Twenty-nine patients with RA either starting a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) for the first time or changing DMARD were recruited. Semi-structured interviews, activity diaries and focus groups were conducted over 9 months. A coding framework was developed and data analysed using the constant comparative method to identify key themes. DMARDs were perceived as central to the management of RA but strong concerns were expressed about potential long-term effects. Beliefs about DMARDs were informed by material from a wide range of sources. Judgements of efficacy were influenced by symptom relief, occurrence of side-effects and perception of alternative treatment options. Perception, reporting and tolerance of side-effects differed widely between individuals. The emotional impact of starting and being withdrawn from medication appeared stronger in people with more experience of DMARD use. Patients have complex and evolving belief systems relating to DMARDs. Understanding these systems will facilitate the provision of appropriate information and effective support not only in decision-making ab...Continue Reading


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