Relative Impact of Pain and Disease Activity on Improvements in Fatigue: Results From 2 Baricitinib Phase 3 Clinical Trials

Bruno Fautrel*, Jianmin Wu, Duzhe Wang, Ewa Haladyj, Mart A.F.J. Van De Laar, Tsutomu Takeuchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background/Objective Fatigue is common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We assessed the relative impact of pain and disease activity on improvements in fatigue in 2 phase 3 baricitinib clinical trials. Methods RA-BEAM (NCT01710358) and RA-BEACON (NCT01721044) were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in adults with moderate to severe RA. RA-BEAM assessed baricitinib + methotrexate (MTX) and adalimumab + MTX in patients with prior inadequate response/intolerance (IR) to MTX (MTX-IR). RA-BEACON assessed patients with IR to ≥1 biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (bDMARD-IR). Measures included the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy - Fatigue scale, Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) for RA, and pain visual analog scale (VAS). Analyses were implemented separately for each study. Results Significant improvements were seen in disease activity and pain, which were greater with baricitinib versus adalimumab. A statistically significant improvement was seen in fatigue with both active treatments versus placebo. Moderate correlations were observed between improvements in disease activity and fatigue and between improvements in pain and fatigue in both MTX-IR and bDMARD-IR patients. Reductions in pain (≥50%) and remission or low disease activity (CDAI ≤10) had significant associations with fatigue improvement at week 24. In mediation analysis, improvements in fatigue attributable to CDAI and pain VAS in MTX-IR patients were 31% and 52%, respectively, for baricitinib, and 30% and 47%, respectively, for adalimumab. In bDMARD-IR patients, improvement in fatigue was attributed 48% to CDAI and 48% to pain VAS. Conclusions In both MTX-IR and bDMARD-IR patients, a large proportion of improvements in fatigue across treatment arms were accounted for by improvements in pain and disease activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • baricitinib
  • fatigue
  • mediation analysis


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