Thursday, 27 April 2023 14:52

Disease Activity and Health-Related Quality of Life Among Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis With Different Alcohol Consumption Habits

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OBJECTIVE: Multiple studies have found a relationship between alcohol consumption and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), although reverse causation has been suggested to explain the association. We aimed to study the relationship between alcohol consumption and disease activity, disease progression, and health-related quality of life in patients with RA. METHODS: We followed up 1,228 patients with newly diagnosed RA from a population-based case-control study, Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA). Drinkers and non-drinkers were compared to evaluate risk of unfavorable outcomes regarding disease activity and health-related quality of life. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using logistic regression models.

RESULTS: Non-drinkers at baseline had higher disease activity and estimated their pain as more severe compared to drinkers. At 1 year of follow-up, non-drinkers reported higher swollen and tender joint counts and experienced more pain and fatigue, lower global health scores, and lower health-related quality of life. The inverse relationship between alcohol consumption and RA-specific outcomes was also observed when comparing drinkers and non-drinkers who had not changed their alcohol consumption habits at or after the year of disease onset. Those who stopped drinking postbaseline experienced higher disease activity, more pain, and lower health-related quality of life at 1 year of follow-up, compared to drinkers, although there was no difference in disease activity at baseline between drinkers who continued versus discontinued drinking. Our findings argue against bias due to reverse causation. CONCLUSION: Alcohol consumption was associated with lower disease activity and higher health-related quality of life in RA patients in a dose-dependent manner.

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