Study Reports Decreased Incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Puerto Rico

The strictest criteria to determine Rheumatoid Arthritis in a patient are the cause of the low incidence in Puerto Rico.

Detailed plan of a patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Photo: Shutterstock.

A group of researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Puerto Rico found that the incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis on the Island decreased as a result of the management of the condition and the follow-up of patients from medical insurance programs and drug dispensing,

In the study published in the National Library of Medicine and the United States, it refers that “a sensitivity analysis revealed that when RA cases with =3 medical claims were restricted to having =1 claim, the estimated prevalence changed from 6 to 3 cases per 1000 beneficiaries”, the authors wrote.

Highlighting the prevalence of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Puerto Rico, possibly due to stricter criteria to define Rheumatoid Arthritis compared to the United States, since the study took into account MEDICAID patients.

Another aspect that they highlighted is that the dispensing patterns and costs are similar to those found in other studies. “Claim algorithms that identify rheumatoid arthritis have greater validity when pharmacy data is included,” they indicated.

The prevalence of Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2016 was estimated at 2 cases per 1,000 beneficiaries, with 3 per 1,000 beneficiaries among women, 4.5 times that of men.

In total, 44% of recipients received conventional synthetics only; 32% received biologic or targeted synthetics only and 24% received a combination of these medications.

Across analyses, the researchers found that rheumatologists and a mix of specialties accounted for the highest median number of medications dispensed, with 14 each.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Importance of Early Detection

In previous interviews with the Journal of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Noemi Valera Rosario, a prominent rheumatologist on the Island, defined this inflammatory autoimmune disease, “which is distinguished as a chronic and progressive condition that causes disability”, this referring to the fact that his symptomatology is the same for adults as well as for children.

“There are studies that show that early diagnosis of the disease helps to reverse many of the sequelae left by this condition”, in this way Dr. Varela warns about the importance of parents not allowing this condition to progress in children .

Types of early detection

Early stage: This is detected in the first weeks in which the disease begins to manifest itself in the patient and in most cases, the disease can be controlled.

Rheumatoid arthritis early: It is characterized because its diagnosis is before six months, which allows aggressively attacking the disease, causing a kind of numbness of the condition.

Access the case here.

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