Rheumatoid arthritis

Zdenka, 41 years old

  • I take biologicals
  • They are not administered by injection, I take pills
  • I went back to work after three months of treatment
  • I do not receive a disability pension
  • I am not hospitalized for weeks
  • I live a full life

Patients with this disease live on average 5–10 years longer than before.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory (autoimmune) disease that affects the musculoskeletal system but can also affect other organs, such as the eyes, heart and lungs. In the Czech Republic, approximately 91,000 patients, mostly women, suffer from this disease. In recent years, there has been tremendous progress in terms of treatment options - patients have more accessible and comfortable treatment. Thanks to the early start of biological therapy, they can live a full life and work longer.

Rheumatoid arthritis decreases patients’ functional capacity, worsens the quality of their life and shortens their lives on average by 5-10 years. It occurs most frequently between the ages of 40 and 60, but young patients, whose rheumatoid arthritis can cause their disability within a few years, are no exception. A typical symptom is the morning stiffness of the joints and as the disease progresses, they become swollen and painful and consequently change their shape and structure. Complete stiffness occurs in advanced stages; patients can usually no longer walk and handle daily activities. Very serious for the quality of their life is when the small joints of their hand are affected, which prevents them from caring for themselves (getting dressed, performing daily hygiene, writing, etc.). However, the early start of treatment may significantly slow the progression of the disease, although rheumatoid arthritis cannot be completely cured yet.

Treatment is more comfortable and available

There has been tremendous progress in treatment in terms of rheumatology: the first disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) were launched in the 1990s, and several biologicals are now available. These drugs are significantly more effective, although not suitable for all patients. With timely and correct administration, they can significantly suppress the disease activity.

Previously, modern medicinal products were available to the most affected patients only. As of 1 February 2019, patients with “moderate disease severity” can also receive effective biological treatment. Thousands of more patients can thus receive this new treatment.

Rheumatology deserves a lot of attention; treatment options have changed beyond recognition. We believe that other revolutionary discoveries will follow,” says Mgr. Jakub Dvořáček, MHA, executive director of the Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry.

Shorter hospitalizations will save state money

We can see benefits of the early start of biological therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, e.g. in a decline in incapacity to work, specifically from 22 to 10 days. Also, the hospitalization time of patients is now shorter and, despite increasing prevalence, the number of patients who need to be hospitalized is decreasing. In 2018, less than 1% of patients required hospitalization.

The shorter hospitalization time of patients and the lower number of disability pensions generated significant savings of 399 million Czech Crowns during the years 2010-2017 alone,” concludes Jakub Dvořáček.

from 22.7 days to


In recent years biological treatment has significantly contributed to improving the outcome of rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and starting this year the treatment of moderately severe rheumatoid arthritis will also be reimbursed by public health insurance, which is immense progress. Its advantages include the fact that it does not damage other cells and organs because it targets the immune system and blocks the activity of certain pro-inflammatory cells.

Many patients describe their improvement as a miracle. It is a significant positive change that greatly increases the quality of their life. No one wants to be unable to carry out normal daily activities. The disease gradually disrupts people's ability to work. If they receive effective treatment on time, they will be able to retain all their social roles, work, take care of their family and live a “normal” life. Without effective treatment, patients end up with a partial or full disability pension, and it is a known fact that returning from disability to normal work is difficult and highly unlikely for patients with rheumatic diseases.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects women up to three times more often, is an inflammatory disease that can lead to irreversible damage of cartilage and joint bones and comes with chronic pain. Most patients end up receiving a disability pension, have a total joint replacement or cannot move their wrists for the rest of their lives. The fact that it is possible to start biological treatment before irreversible joint changes occur is a huge advantage for the system and especially for patients. Effective treatment will reduce the disease activity and significantly improve the quality of life in all aspects.

Edita Müllerová,
Chair of Revma Liga ČR

Ke stažení

Materiály z tiskové konference Asociace inovativního farmaceutického průmyslu na téma "Moderní léčba revmatoidní artritidy: pacienti tráví minimum času v nemocnicích a dříve se vracejí do pracovního i běžného života" konané 21.07.2020.        

  • TZ AIFP Revmatioidní artritida (.pdf) 
  • TK AIFP Revmatoidní artritida: prezentace Mgr. Jakuba Dvořáčka, MHA, LL.M. (AIFP) (.pdf) 
  • TK AIFP Revmatoidní artritida: prezentace prof. RNDr. Ladislava Duška, Ph.D. (ÚZIS) (.pdf) 
  • TK AIFP Revmatoidní artritida: prezentace prof. MUDr. Ladislava Šenolta, Ph.D. (Revmatologický ústav) (.pdf) 
  • TK AIFP Revmatoidní artritida: prezentace Davida Kříže (Revma Liga) (.pdf)     
  • TK AIFP Revmatoidní artritida: otázky pro prof. MUDr. Ladislava Šenolta, Ph.D. (Revmatologický ústav) (.pdf) 
  • TK AIFP Revmatoidní artritida: otázky pro Davida Kříže (Revma Liga) (.pdf)     

Informační materiál s výsledky studie Inovace pro život v oblasti revmatoidní artritidy u příležitosti Světového dne artritidy - 12. října 2020.  

  • Světový den artritidy (.pdf) 
This website is operated by the AIFP that as a personal data controller that uses cookies in order to improve user comfort, to analyze the visit rate and to deliver relevant content to visitors more accurately. For more information, click here.
I agree