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New Survey Shows Devastating Impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain on Intimate Relations

PHILADELPHIA, October 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

For U.S. Media Only

- U.S. women living with rheumatoid arthritis demand more 'good days'

- 68 percent of women living with rheumatoid arthritis look for new pain relief therapies to help them cope

- Almost 60 percent of women in the U.S. living with rheumatoid arthritis find intimate relations painful

- Rheumatoid arthritis played a role in 25 percent of divorces amongst women with the disease

A new survey of U.S. women living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) published today reveals that RA has a clear emotional impact on people living with the disease, with loss of self-confidence seen in their sex lives, in the workplace, and in their social lives. Survey findings suggest that almost 60 percent of women living with RA in the U.S. feel less self confident in their sex-life and over a third consistently find intimate relations painful, or have even stopped altogether.

The survey, sponsored by pharmaceutical company UCB, highlights that RA was a contributing factor to a quarter of divorces amongst women with the disease, and that 53 percent of the single women who responded to the survey have reported their RA is an additional obstacle in finding a life partner.

"My patients feel that their discomfort is not well-understood by family members and close associates which affects their social relationships significantly," said Roy Fleischmann, M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "Many prefer to hide their degree of discomfort from others because they feel it is too difficult to try to explain pain and decreased ability and function to those who do not have these limitations."

Pain is a huge issue for women living with RA, with 85 percent of respondents experiencing pain on a daily basis, and 82 percent taking medication every day. 68 percent of respondents claim that they constantly look for new pain relief therapies to help them cope.

Bert Kelly, Communications and Public Relations Manager, and spokesperson for UCB, commented "Many people underestimate the amount of pain associated with having rheumatoid arthritis because women tend to hide their discomfort well. Furthermore, nearly half of patients don't talk about pain control with their physician, which is a huge problem especially when a 'good day' is described as a pain free one for the majority of respondents." He continued "Over 1.3 million Americans live with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, and so there is still a need for rapid acting treatments allowing patients more pain free 'good days' and to have an improved quality of life over a sustained period of time."

Having to choose comfortable clothes rather than fashionable ones, constant daily pain during everyday activities like cooking, emotional distress and a feeling of isolation are some of the other ways that RA impacts the lives of people living with the disease.

About the U.S. 'Good Days' Survey

The U.S. 'Good Days' Survey was conducted in August 2009 as part of a global initiative assessing the lifestyles of women with rheumatoid arthritis in seven major industrialized countries. Objectives of the Survey included identification of the physical and emotional impact of RA on day-to-day lives of women living with the disease.

Around 300 American women aged between 25-65 years with RA for over six monthswere interviewed online about the impact of the disease on their lives.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is estimated that 5 million people suffer from RA globally. In the United States alone, an estimated 1.3 million people have the disease. Prevalence is not split evenly between genders, since women are three times more likely to be affected than men. Although RA can affect people of all ages, the onset of the disease usually occurs between 35-55 years of age.

About UCB

UCB, Brussels, Belgium ( is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing approximately 10,000 people in over 40 countries, UCB generated revenue of EUR 3.6 billion in 2008. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).


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