Need help making a decision about rheumatoid arthritis treatment? Introducing ANSWER-2!


Principal Investigator: Linda Li – Senior Research Scientist of Clinical Epidemiology, BSc(PT), MSc, PhD. Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia


When will the final results be reported?

We anticipate that development of ANSWER-2 will be completed by the end of 2013, and testing will be finished by the summer of 2014. Final results will be available by the end of 2015.


Why do this research?

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) typically begin taking one or more drugs when they are first diagnosed. If symptoms do not improve, doctors may recommend a type of medication called a biologic. Often, the decision to start a biologic is not an easy one for people with RA, given that there are side effects, high costs and different ways of taking the drugs (e.g. by injection, as a pill) to consider.

In a previous study, we learned that the ANSWER decision aid was able to significantly reduce people’s uncertainty in deciding whether or not to use methotrexate (the most commonly used RA drug). In this project, we will develop ANSWER-2, a decision aid for people who are considering biologics. Once the tool is developed, we will test whether ANSWER-2 is able to improve people’s experiences of making this treatment decision.


How are we conducting this study?

A decision aid is designed to help patients choosing between treatment options based on the best information available from research and their own preferences. We will develop the ANSWER-2 decision aid to include patient stories that highlight best evidence on the benefits and risks of biologics for RA treatment, as well as everyday factors that may affect a person’s decision to begin a biologic. Next, we will recruit 15 people with RA to test whether the decision aid is user-friendly. Finally, we will recruit 55 people with RA who are considering or reconsidering a biologic. These participants will use the decision aid and fill out questionnaires. One month later, we will interview these 55 participants about their experiences of using ANSWER-2 and their subsequent discussion with their doctors about their preferred treatment option.


Who is funding the research?

This project is funded by a 12-month grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)


Who is on the research team?


Nick Bansback – Assistant Professor, School of Population and Public Health, UBC

Anne Townsend – PhD Research Associate, Department of Occupational Science and Therapy, UBC; Affiliate Researcher, ARC

Diane Lacaille – Associate Professor and Mary Pack Chair in Arthritis Research, Division of Rheumatology, UBC Senior Scientist, ARC

Allyson Jones – Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta

Chris Shaw – Associate Professor, School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University

Paul Adam – Rheumatology Liaison and Outreach Services Coordinator, Mary Pack Arthritis Centre

Sydney Lineker – Assistant Clinical Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University

Elaine Yacyshyn – Assistant Professor, Division of Rheumatology, University of Alberta


Research Staff:

Jasmina Memetovic, Research Coordinator, ARC

Joanna Ye, Research Assistant, ARC

Jenny Leese, Research Assistant, ARC



Martina Franchi – Health & Benefits Consultant, Mercer

Alison Hoens – Knowledge Broker, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC


Consumer Collaborators: 

Pam Montie, Arthritis Patient Advisory Board, ARC

Alison Hoens, Arthritis Patient Advisory Board ARC

Ruta Cummings, Arthritis Patient Advisory Board, ARC

Sharan Rai, Arthritis Patient Advisory Board, ARC

Rod Brennan, Arthritis Patient Advisory Board, ARC

Cheryl Koehn, JointHealth



To learn more, please contact Jasmina Memetovic at jmemetovic@arthritisresearch.ca or 604-207-4007




Li LC, Shaw CD, Lacaille D, Yacyshyn E, Jones CA, Koehn C, Hoens AM, Geldman J, Sayre EC, Macdonald GG, Leese J, Bansback N. Effects of a Web-Based Patient Decision Aid on Biologic and Small-Molecule Agents for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Results From a Proof-of-Concept Study. Arthritis Care & Research. doi: 10.1002/acr.23287. To access publication, click here.

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