Frailty is a construct recently introduced in the context of inflammatory joint diseases. To date, it is not clear if frailty can act as a negative factor in the achievement of comprehensive disease control (CDC) in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
To verify whether frailty is a factor hindering the achievement of CDC in patients with RA starting a biologic drug.
RA patients requiring a treatment with a biologic drug were included. Patients were classified as achieving or not achieving CDC after 12 months of treatment. Patients were classified as non-frail, mildly frail, moderately frail and severely frail according to the Comprehensive Rheumatologic Assessment of Frailty (CRAF). Frailty was tested using the Mann-Whitney or Kruskal-Wallis test for continuous variables and chi-square test or Fisher’s exact test for comparison with categorical variables. A multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with prediction of CDC achievers.
A total of 214 RA patients were followed for 12 months, 14.5% achieved CDC. Eighty-four (39.3%) patients were non-frail, 57 (26.6%) were mildly frail, 14 (6.5%) were moderately frail and 59 (27.6%) were severely frail. The multivariable logistic regression analysis identified the CRAF score at baseline as an independent variable for CDC achievement at 12 months (p = 0.0040).
Frailty is a frequent condition in RA patients and reduces the chances of achieving CDC.
Frailty, measured by CRAF, reduced the likelihood of CDC achievement in RA patients treated with a biologic agent. Key Points • Frailty is an under-researched condition in rheumatoid arthritis affecting more than 60% of patients. • Frailty is a condition that hinders the achievement of comprehensive disease control after 1 year of treatment with biological drugs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

© 2021. The Author(s).