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While rheumatologists often focus on treatment targets, for many patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), control over pain and fatigue, as well as sustaining physical function and quality of life (QoL), is of primary importance. This literature review aimed at examining patients' and physicians' treatment aspirations, and identifying the unmet needs for patients with RA receiving ongoing treatment. Searches were performed using MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and Econlit literature databases for articles published from 2004 to 2014 in the English language. Published literature was screened to identify articles reporting the unmet needs in RA. We found that, despite the wide range of available treatments, RA continues to pose a substantial humanistic and economic burden on patients, and there are still unmet needs across key domains such as pain, physical function, mental function, and fatigue. These findings suggest that there is a need for further treatment advances in RA that address these domains of contemporary unmet need.

Original publication




Journal article


Rheumatol Int

Publication Date





685 - 695


Cost, Fatigue, Mental functioning, Pain, Physical functioning, Rheumatoid arthritis, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Cost of Illness, Fatigue, Health Services Needs and Demand, Humans, Pain, Quality of Life