Baseline comorbidities in a population-based cohort of rheumatoid arthritis receiving biological therapy: Data from the Australian Rheumatology Association database
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Aims. To describe the baseline characteristics of an Australian population-based cohort of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients commencing biological therapy. Methods. Descriptive analysis from the Australian Rheumatology Association Database (ARAD). Results. Up to October 2006, there were 681 RA patients taking biologics enrolled in ARAD. Baseline data were available for 624 (72% female, mean (SD) age 57.0 (12.5) years). Of these, 59.5% reported at least one comorbid condition, most commonly hypertension (35.7%) and osteoporosis (30.4%); 61 (9.8%) had a history of malignancy (35 nonmelanoma skin, 5 breast, 4 bowel, 5 cervix, 3 melanoma, 3 prostate and 1 each of lip, lung, myeloma, testis, uterus, vagina). Self-reported infections within the previous 6 months were common (71.5%). Conclusions. History of comorbidities, including recent infections, is common among Australian RA patients commencing biologics, and 10% have a history of malignancy. This may impact future evaluations of health outcomes among this population, including attribution of adverse events of biologic therapy.
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