Patient-reported dermatomyositis and polymyositis flare symptoms are associated with disability, productivity loss, and health care resource use

Lisa Christopher-Stine, George J. Wan, William Kelly, Mary McGowan, Ryan Bostic, Michael L. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Flare activity or worsening symptoms are not well defined for myositis. OBJECTIVES: To (a) characterize dermatomyositis (DM) and polymyositis (PM) flares from the patient perspective and (b) report the corresponding disability and rate of unplanned medical encounters. METHODS: Online survey data were collected from volunteer patients from The Myositis Association and Johns Hopkins Myositis Center. Flare frequency; Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI), HAQ-Pain Index, Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI) scales; emergency department/urgent care (ED/UC) visits; and hospital admissions during the past year were examined. RESULTS: 564 individuals with self-reported diagnoses of DM/PM were surveyed between December 2017 and May 2018. Recall of symptom flares was reported by 524 respondents (78.1% were female, mean age of 55 years). Among the respondents, 378 (72.1%) reported ≥1 flare in the past year. The pattern of flare frequency was similar for DM and PM respondents. The most common symptoms were muscle weakness (83%), extreme fatigue (78%), and muscle pain/ discomfort (64%). Increasing flare frequency was associated with significantly (P<0.01) greater mean HAQ-DI and HAQ-Pain scores, myositis-related ED/UC visits, hospital admissions, WPAI work productivity loss (among those employed), and WPAI nonwork activity impairment. CONCLUSIONS: DM/PM-related flares are common with exacerbations of muscle weakness and fatigue being the most common flare symptoms. Flare frequency was associated with greater disability, pain, work productivity loss, nonwork activity impairment, and increased ED/UC utilization. Higher frequency of patient-reported flares may serve as a marker of worsening physical functioning and intensifying health care needs and, therefore, suggests their importance in the clinical assessment of patients with DM/PM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1424-1433
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Health Policy


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