Obesity is associated with poor outcomes for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Effective weight management is imperative. Although traditional lifestyle behavioral weight loss programs have demonstrated efficacy for reducing weight, these interventions do not meet the pain-related weight loss challenges of RA patients with obesity.

. A 12-session group treatment (90 minutes per session) including pain coping skills training into a lifestyle behavioral weight reduction intervention was created. Participants participated in supervised exercise sessions 3 times per week in addition to the weekly group sessions. In a short pilot randomized study, 50 patients were randomly assigned to either the intervention (n=29) or conventional RA therapy (n=21). Descriptive statistics were used to assess feasibility data (i.e., accrual, attrition, and adherence) (e.g., percent). Using descriptive statistics and paired t-tests, researchers looked at patterns of change in study outcomes from baseline to follow-up for the intervention and standard care arms individually. The sizes of the effects are also shown.

Participants in the intervention group commenced therapy at a rate of 79.3%, with 74.3% attending group skills sessions and 64.2% attending exercise sessions. Weight (mean, -2.28 kg) and waist circumference (mean, -4.76 cm) were reduced in intervention participants, as were physical functioning, eating habits, pain, and self-efficacy for weight control.

The findings indicated that adding pain coping skills training and behavioral weight reduction intervention into RA medical therapy might enhance results. The study’s enrollment and dropout rates, as well as intervention adherence, helped to shape future, bigger randomized effectiveness studies of the intervention.