A mind-body connection
In the study, the RA treatment of 97 patients was tapered by either 33% or 66%. Over 75% of the patients were women, with a mean age of 57. During the first 6 months of the study, the research team found that 50 patients upheld their treatment with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors. In addition, 26 patients tapered their anti-TNF treatments by 33% and 21 patients tapered their anti-TNF treatments by 66%. Throughout the course of six months, the patients who had not experienced flare ups while tapering continued to do so until discontinuation of the TNF inhibitor. Moreover, patients from the control group were re-randomized to a reduction in dosages of 33% or 66%.
Within a year, 42% of the patients experienced flare ups. The researchers found that patients with fatigue, disability, and poor mental health (including depression) were more likely to experience flare ups. They also found that tapering RA treatment is safe and effective in a selected group of patients with RA. In addition, tapering the treatment by 33% did not increase flare ups or worsen disability or quality of life.