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New Study Highlights Need for Better Interaction and Education Between Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients and Care Providers

Study Also Underscores High Level of Patient Dissatisfaction with Pain Management

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- 5:00 am PDT -- UCB announced today findings from large-scale rheumatoid arthritis (RA) surveys collectively called the DESIGN study that showed patients rating themselves as having substantially less knowledge of RA therapies than their physicians and nurses believed. The survey also showed disagreement between physicians and nurses over who should be charged with patient education, as well as a high level of patient dissatisfaction with the level of pain they suffer from RA. These surveys, designed to assess the attitudes of RA patients and their healthcare providers, were presented at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Scientific Meeting.

In the global study of more than 3,300 patients, nurses and physicians, 87 percent of physicians and 90 percent of nurses believed their patients had a high level of knowledge of current RA treatments. But when asked, only 50 percent of RA patients rated their knowledge as high.

The survey also asked doctors and nurses about who should be responsible for educating patients to monitor for side effects of therapies. Only 14 percent of physicians believed that nurses should educate patients, while 68 percent of nurses thought they were best able to handle this aspect of patient care. Despite these differences, nurses, physicians and patients were aligned in terms of RA treatment goals.

"These findings help pinpoint areas for additional attention where we can better work together to improve the patient understanding of this complex disease," said Nicole Furfaro, A.R.N.P., M.S.N., study investigator at Seattle Rheumatology Associates. "Patients clearly can benefit from more interaction and education from their care providers to help bridge the gaps in knowledge and manage expectations of RA therapy."

The study also assessed RA-associated pain in U.S. and European Union (EU) patients. The survey found that 34 percent of EU and 37 percent of U.S. patients were either extremely dissatisfied or dissatisfied with their level of pain from RA. Only 12 percent of EU and 9 percent of U.S. patients were extremely satisfied or satisfied.

"This survey indicates that, despite treatment, RA patients' levels of arthritis pain remain high in both the EU and the U.S. and effective pain management remains an extensive unmet need," Furfaro said.

Patients reported dissatisfaction within the 30 days prior to the survey and most patients reported moderate to severe pain in the past two months. Not surprisingly, there was a significant correlation between arthritis pain and mood and tension levels.

"It is understandable that arthritis pain would significantly affect quality of life for patients," said Arthur Kavanaugh, M.D., study investigator at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. "With recent advances in treatment and continuing understanding of the pathophysiology of RA, the goals of treatment have been elevated. Even though a number of patients can do extremely well with current agents, there is still room for improvement in the therapies offered to manage RA symptoms and achieve the highest levels of disease control."

Forty-four percent of U.S. patients rated pain relief as the top benefit wanted from their RA medication, and they were satisfied with a biologic therapy if pain reduction was provided. Most EU respondents were satisfied with their biologic therapy, although pain relief was not cited as the leading reason for their satisfaction.

The DESIGN study was sponsored by UCB. Additional findings will be presented or published at a later date.

Further information

Bert Kelly, Communications Manager, UCB

Cell: 404.784.6303,

Eric Miller, Director of U.S. Corporate Communications, UCB

Cell: 404.519.5163,

Notes to Editors:

About DESIGN Study

The international DESIGN (DEveloping SuperIor understandinG of RA patients' Needs) study is one of the largest international Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) surveys to explore the attitudes and behaviors of RA patients and their physicians regarding RA and its treatment, and assess emotional, informational, and clinical needs. The goal of the study is to highlight the burden of RA on the patient and create awareness around the importance of strong relationships between the patient and their treating rheumatologist.

Quantitative data was collected via a 45-minute phone or internet surveys fielded to 2,795 RA patients (18+ years of age; US = 2,039 RA patients; EU = 756 RA patients), 500 rheumatologists and 101 RA nurses between February and March 2008. The surveys were conducted by the bioStrategies Group. Survey questions covered disease status, disease knowledge and severity, rheumatologist visits and relationships to providers, RA treatments, as well as emotions, attitudes, and behaviors related to RA. Patient demographics and results of the EU and U.S. survey:


(n=756) (n=2,039)

Mean age (y) 60 54

% females 76 79

Mean disease duration (y) 12 8

% moderate to severe RA 77 83

% taking prescription RA medication 98 92

% currently taking a biologic 24 34

Level of arthritis pain experienced

in past 30 days (%)

Extremely dissatisfied/dissatisfied 34 37

Extremely satisfied/satisfied 12 9

Experienced moderate to severe pain

in past 2 months (%) 75 82

Feel their life will be filled with pain

(agree/strongly agree, %) 31 39

Worried medicine will not be strong enough to

control pain (agree/strongly agree, %) 37 52

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It is estimated that five million people suffer from RA globally, with 0.3 percent to 1 percent of the population in industrialized countries suffering from RA. It is estimated that, approximately 1.3 million people in the United States have RA. Women are three times more likely to be affected than men. Although it can affect people of all ages, the onset of RA usually occurs between the ages of 35-55.

Symptoms of RA include joint stiffness, joint pain, inflammation of the affected areas and an associated reduction in mobility. These symptoms can be intermittent and vary in severity from patient to patient. In more severe cases RA can eventually lead to disability. RA patients are also at a higher risk of developing other conditions, in particular heart disease, stroke, infections, lung problems and osteoporosis.

As there is currently no cure for RA, treatment goals center on disease management and controlling symptoms. Treatment is aimed at controlling disease progression, providing pain relief and reducing swelling, preventing joint damage and deformity and maintaining function of the affected joints to prevent disability.

Traditional treatments for RA include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), with biological therapies a more recent addition. Anti-TNF (TNF-alpha; Tumor Necrosis Factor) therapies are specific types of biological therapies which have been used in patients with RA. They may be given alone but are usually given in combination with methotrexate or another immunosuppressant. They work by inhibiting the action of TNF-alpha, an inflammatory mediator, either directly or indirectly responsible for damaging the joint.

About UCB

UCB, Brussels, Belgium ( is a global leader in the biopharmaceutical industry dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing around 12,000 people in over 40 countries, UCB achieved revenue of 3.6 billion euro in 2007. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB). UCB's North American headquarters is located in Atlanta, Ga.

Forward-looking statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and beliefs of management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from those that may be implied by such forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Important factors that could result in such differences include: changes in general economic, business and competitive conditions, effects of future judicial decisions, changes in regulation, exchange rate fluctuations and hiring and retention of its employees.

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