The effect of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs on skeletal muscle mass in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a systematic review with meta-analysis

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Abstract

Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, characterized by chronic and systemic inflammation. Besides, it is known that RA patients may present several comorbidities, such as sarcopenia, a condition where patients present both muscle mass and muscle quality impairment. RA treatment is mostly pharmacological and consists in controlling systemic inflammation and disease activity. Despite that, the effect of pharmacological treatment on sarcopenia is not well characterized. Objective: To summarize the effects of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) on skeletal muscle tissue in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Methods: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials and observational studies was conducted using MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science. We selected studies with rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that analyzed muscle mass parameters such as lean mass and appendicular lean mass. Methodological quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale. Standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were set. A meta-analysis of observational studies was performed using the R software, and we considered significant statistics when p < 0.05. Results: Nine studies were included in this systematic review. In the meta-analysis, DMARD treatment had no positive difference (p = 0.60) in lean mass. In the same way, in the appendicular lean mass parameter, our results showed that DMARDs did not have changes between baseline and post-treatment analysis (p = 0.93). Conclusion: There is no evidence of a significant effect of DMARD therapy, either synthetic or biological, on muscle mass. However, this association should be investigated with more studies.

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Hein, T. R., Peterson, L., Bartikoski, B. J., Portes, J., Espírito Santo, R. C., & Xavier, R. M. (2022, December 1). The effect of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs on skeletal muscle mass in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Arthritis Research and Therapy. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-022-02858-y

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