RA Treatment by the Numbers - RA in America

A large part of managing RA includes working with doctors and/or specialists to create an individualized plan for RA treatment. Because there are a range of treatment or management approaches in RA, including drug therapy, rehabilitation and physical therapy, nutrition, psychosocial interventions, complementary and alternative treatment approaches, and surgical interventions, there are also a wide range of experiences people may have when going through differing treatments. RhuematoidArthritis.net thought it would be helpful to our community to find out more about these experiences; to that end, we introduce to you our "RA Treatment by the Numbers" component of our latest RA in America survey.


The average number of treatment types tried by RA in America respondents

NSAIDs and pain medications have been used by 90% of individuals, disease-modifying treatments by 88% and steroids by 85%.


Number of individuals with RA who completed the online RA in America 2014survey, which gathered about their symptoms and diagnosis journey, as well as their quality of life and treatment experience.


Percentage who immediately began treatment upon their RA diagnosis. Upon diagnosis, the most common treatments prescribed include disease-modifying treatments and NSAIDs (60% and 57% respectively). ½ of those prescribed treatment at the time of their RA diagnosis, were prescribed steroids.


The percentage of respondents who were satisfied with their current treatment plan for RA. This includes an average of 2.4 treatment types.

More than 50%

Individuals with RA are currently using a biological agent / TNF-inhibitor to treat their RA (52%). 65% are currently using NSAIDs and pain medications and 63% currently use disease-modifying treatments.


The average number of medications being currently used by individuals for their RA. Over the course of their journey, an average of 6.5 have been utilized.


Percentage who have stopped using an RA medicine or therapy at some point in their treatment journey. Key reasons for treatment cessation include side effects (56%), such as nausea or vomiting, and treatments being ineffective (41%).


The average number of rehabilitation therapies that a majority (55%) of individuals have tried to treat their RA at some point. Physical therapy is the most prevalent, tried by 43% of individuals.


Have tried complementary and alternative therapies for treating their RA, having tried an average of 4.8. Heat therapy and exercise are the most commonly tried (56% and 49% respectively), with 35% of individuals having tried both.

Over $500

Is spent annually out of pocket for RA-related treatment and therapies by 78% of individuals. Financial access also plays an important role in RA care, as 38% have avoided medication due to cost. 36% of individuals have used a coupon or free trial offer, 32% have used a third party copay assistance program and 41% have used a manufacturer-sponsored financial assistance program to help pay for RA treatment.


Indicated that they would prefer an injection twice a month over an oral medication twice a day, if the two treatment formats were equal on all other attributes.

An important note on treatment: the reason drug treatments are an essential part of managing RA is that they are the only mode of treatment for which there is clear evidence that the treatment does, in fact, slow or prevent joint damage. Your choice of treatment depends on individual factors, such as how severely RA affects you and side effects associated with drug treatment. This is an aspect of RA in which you and your doctor can work closely together, for the goal of finding a balance between managing RA symptoms and keeping side effects to a minimum. As this is a prominent challenge of drug treatment when it comes to RA, RheumatoidArthritis.net presents "Treatment by the Numbers" in the hopes that this information is helpful for our community, as is the insight that none of us are alone in our experiences with RA.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.