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Table 4 Overview of the themes arising from patient interviews surrounding potential withdrawal of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy

From: “Living a normal life”: a qualitative study of patients’ views of medication withdrawal in rheumatoid arthritis

Theme Comments
Uncertainty after DMARD withdrawal Uncertainty and unpredictability of developing flare of RA after DMARD withdrawal
Getting rid of unnecessary medication Benefits of stopping “unnecessary medication” in terms of avoidance of toxicity and the need for blood monitoring
Feeling of loss of control over disease DMARDs as a “weapon” that fights disease, without which patients feel a loss of control over their RA
Previous disease experiences Personal or family/friend experience of treatment-resistant or deforming RA is a strong disincentive to DMARD withdrawal
Social circumstances Patient less likely to consider DMARD withdrawal if their social circumstances make them vulnerable to disease flare and periods of reduced physical function – e.g. caring for dependent family member, manual worker.