Pain in individuals with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies, other systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases, and without rheumatic diseases: A report from the COVAD study

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Shinjo S. K., Kim M., Hoff L. S., Missé R. G., Sen P., Naveen R., ...More

International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, vol.26, no.4, pp.727-739, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/1756-185x.14636
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.727-739
  • Keywords: autoimmune diseases, functional status, myositis, pain, rheumatic diseases
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Objectives: To compare pain intensity among individuals with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs), other systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (AIRDs), and without rheumatic disease (wAIDs). Methods: Data were collected from the COVID-19 Vaccination in Autoimmune Diseases (COVAD) study, an international cross-sectional online survey, from December 2020 to August 2021. Pain experienced in the preceding week was assessed using numeral rating scale (NRS). We performed a negative binomial regression analysis to assess pain in IIMs subtypes and whether demographics, disease activity, general health status, and physical function had an impact on pain scores. Results: Of 6988 participants included, 15.1% had IIMs, 27.9% had other AIRDs, and 57.0% were wAIDs. The median pain NRS in patients with IIMs, other AIRDs, and wAIDs were 2.0 (interquartile range [IQR] = 1.0–5.0), 3.0 (IQR = 1.0–6.0), and 1.0 (IQR = 0–2.0), respectively (P < 0.001). Regression analysis adjusted for gender, age, and ethnicity revealed that overlap myositis and antisynthetase syndrome had the highest pain (NRS = 4.0, 95% CI = 3.5–4.5, and NRS = 3.6, 95% CI = 3.1–4.1, respectively). An additional association between pain and poor functional status was observed in all groups. Female gender was associated with higher pain scores in almost all scenarios. Increasing age was associated with higher pain NRS scores in some scenarios of disease activity, and Asian and Hispanic ethnicities had reduced pain scores in some functional status scenarios. Conclusion: Patients with IIMs reported higher pain levels than wAIDs, but less than patients with other AIRDs. Pain is a disabling manifestation of IIMs and is associated with a poor functional status.