The impact of menopause on functional status in women with rheumatoid arthritis

Elizabeth Mollard, Sofia Pedro, Eliza Chakravarty, Megan Clowse, Rebecca Schumacher, Kaleb Michaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the association of menopause with functional status outcomes in women with RA.

Methods: Participants were women in a US-wide observational cohort who developed RA before menopause. The HAQ measured functional status. We controlled for confounding variables and used univariate and multivariable generalized estimating equation methods with the sandwich estimator of variance. Best models were selected using the quasi-likelihood under the independence model criterion. A sensitivity analysis was performed using linear mixed effects regression models.

Results: A total of 8189 women were eligible. Of these, 2005 (24.5%) were pre-menopausal, 611 (7.5%) transitioned through menopause during the study, and 5573 (68.1%) were post-menopausal. Within each respective group, the mean (s.d.) ages were 39.7 (7.8), 50.7 (3.4) and 62.3 (9.3) years. Our results showed that women who were pre-menopausal had less functional decline as measured by the HAQ compared with women who were post-menopausal; these results were robust and strong even after adjustment for other significant factors. The ever-use of hormonal replacement therapy, ever having a pregnancy, and longer length of reproductive life were associated with less functional decline. After menopause, the trajectory of functional decline worsened and accelerated in women with RA.

Conclusion: The results suggest that menopausal status is associated with functional decline in women with RA. Furthermore, menopause is associated with a worsening progression of functional decline. These data indicate that menopause has a significant impact on the level and rate of functional decline in women with RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-802
Number of pages5
JournalRheumatology (Oxford, England)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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