‌September 19th, 2022

Prevalence, mortality, and treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease mostly affecting the joints. Data on the prevalence of RA differ widely, depending on the study and country. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of RA in France and the mortality rate, characterise the causes of death, and identify prescribed treatments.



This nationwide cohort study was based on data of the French National Health Data System (SNDS) which covers 99% of the French population. All patients identified with RA based on specific ICD-10 codes (M05 and M06, except M06.1) between 2010 and 2019 were included.



We identified 385,919 RA cases between 2010 and 2019, 318,243 of which were followed in 2019 (65.8±16.8 years, 72% women). The overall crude prevalence rate in 2019 was 0.47%: 0.66% for women and 0.28% for men. The crude annual mortality rate was 3.1%. The overall standardised mortality ratio (SMR) of RA patients relative to the French general population decreased over time, reaching 1.21 in 2019. Cause-specific mortality was increased in RA patients for cardiovascular (SMR 1.40, 95% confidence interval 1.36-1.43), respiratory system (1.80, 1.73-1.87), digestive system (1. 73, 1.59-1.88), and urogenital system (1.73, 1.59-1.88) diseases and infections (1.91, 1.76-2.06). We found no excess mortality due to tumours. The prevalence of treatment with conventional synthetic and biological/targeted synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for RA in 2019 was 41.9% (n=133,477) and 18.7% (n=59,409), respectively.



Our results may provide a better understanding of RA and its care in France.

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Find the article on the website of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology