Multicentre survey of rheumatoid arthritis patients from Ministry of Health Rheumatology Centers in Malaysia

Authors


: Mohd Sharir, Medical Department Pusat Perubatan UKM, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Email: drobiwan@gmail.com

Abstract

Aim:  This is a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) descriptive study, the first of its kind carried out in Malaysia.

Methods:  This descriptive study involved 1084 RA patients’ epidemiological and clinical data taken from Selayang, Putrajaya, Taiping and Seremban hospitals from June 2004 to December 2005.

Results:  One thousand and eighty-four RA patients'data were analysed; 960 (88.6%) patients were female and 124 (11.4%) were male, approximately 8 : 1 M : F ratio. The majority of the patients were Indian (591; 54.5%), followed by the Malays (340; 31.4%), Chinese (126; 11.6%), indigenous (13; 1.2%) and others (14; 1.3%). Mean age was 49.6 ± 11.8 years with the youngest being 15 years and the oldest 88 years of age. Mean age for males was 52.0 ± 12.0 and females 49.3 ± 11.7 years (P = 0.017). Most of these patients were housewives (565; 52.1%), followed by paid workers (266; 24.5%), retired patients (80; 7.4%), unemployed (76; 7.0%) and others (97; 8.9%). Mean duration of illness was 8.4 ± 6.7 years; 805 (74.3%) patients were relatively new patients (≤ 2 years illness duration) and 279 (25.7%) patients had illness duration > 2 years. Eight hundred and six (74.4%) were seropositive RA patients and 385 (35.5%) had presence of deformity. The majority of patients were treated with methotrexate (178; 16.4%), followed by combination of methotrexate, sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine (143; 13.2%), leflunomide (140; 12.9%), sulfasalazine (133; 12.3%) and combination of methotrexate and sulfasalazine (108; 10%).

Conclusion:  In the above study, the majority of patients were female (960; 88.6%), Indian (591; 54.5%), had a mean age of 49.6 ± 11.8 years, most were housewives with a mean duration of illness of 8.4 ± 6.7 years and were treated with methotrexate (178; 16.4%). The results of the study may help Malaysian rheumaologists to understand their patients better and treat RA holistically.

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