Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a type of auto-immune condition that affects roughly 90,000 Canadians. Patients with PsA often experience joint pain, skin problems, and issues with mobility that negatively impact their quality of life. Compared to the general population, patients with PsA are at a higher risk of having obesity (excess body weight). Although there is no cure for PsA, medications can be helpful for symptoms, and weight loss can provide an added benefit to the effectiveness of medications.
Behavioral weight loss treatment (BWLT) is a proven way to lose weight and keep it off. BWLT usually includes individual or group sessions with a health professional to learn strategies and tools to change behaviours and thoughts in order to support weight loss. However, few studies have designed a BWLT with the unique needs of patients with PsA in mind.
Before testing new treatments for chronic disease in large, expensive studies, it is important to do smaller-scale research to make sure that a future large study will be successful. In line with this, the objective of our study is to test the feasibility of a future, large study of a BWLT for patients with PsA and obesity. In other words, our small feasibility study will investigate how convenient, reasonable, and acceptable the future study's procedures are, using a small group of people with PsA and obesity.
People who have PsA and obesity will take either a special BWLT program, or receive usual care for PsA from a community-based rheumatologist. Those in the BWLT group will complete 16 online group sessions to help them learn cognitive and behavioral changes to help improve their health and manage weight. After 24 weeks, we will determine study completion rates, examine patient satisfaction, and assess whether the BWLT was provided to people as-designed. We believe this research will help with efforts to provide more effective treatments to patients with PsA to help them lose weight and improve their quality of life through reduced pain and symptoms.