Arthritis research shows better management more important than new drugs

Nov 26, 2008

Although there has been an increase in the number of new arthritis treatments in recent years, the best results will come from more effective use of the drugs we have. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy investigates the effectiveness of available arthritis drugs and concludes that better management is the most important factor.

Isidoro González-Alvaro from the Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Spain, led a team of researchers who studied the treatment of 789 patients over four years between 2000 and 2004. He said, "Our work shows that the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis at tertiary hospitals in Spain has improved from the year 2000. It is likely that better management of available drugs, mainly methotrexate, has been learned during the last decade - along with the clinical development of most biologic agents."

The management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has changed a great deal over the last 10 years. The development of biologic therapies, as well as the rigorous clinical trials that have demonstrated their effectiveness, have probably contributed to this change. However, according to González-Alvaro, "In our study, we did not observe the amazing halt of radiological progression described in clinical trials."

When used outside trials, the effectiveness of new drugs may differ, since patients included in clinical trials are on average younger, have less comorbidity, and show greater disease activity than real-life patients. In order to ascertain the real-life effectiveness of new RA medication, the authors studied RA patients in terms of disease activity, disability and radiological progression in the period after the Spanish launch of Leflunomide and the TNF antagonists. They write, "The most relevant finding of our work is that disease activity in RA has improved, independently of the availability of new therapies, in patients with severe and mild disease."

The authors conclude, "It is clear that we need specific markers of RA severity that allow us to select adequate patients for early biologic treatment in order to improve their therapeutic response, as well as their functional outcome. These tools may also help to improve cost-effectiveness of these drugs avoiding unnecessary prescriptions."

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Sierra Leone, Liberia brace for new Ebola cases

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Some anti-inflammatory drugs affect more than their targets

Aug 21, 2014

Researchers have discovered that three commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, alter the activity of enzymes within cell membranes. Their finding suggests that, if taken at higher-than-approved ...

Neutron beams reveal how antibodies cluster in solution

May 19, 2014

Scientists have used small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and neutron spin-echo (NSE) techniques for the first time to understand how monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), a class of targeted biopharmaceuticals ...

Smart hydrogels deliver medicine on demand

Jan 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers at the University of Delaware have developed a "smart" hydrogel that can deliver medicine on demand, in response to mechanical force.

Recommended for you

Chikungunya fever identified in the United States

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Chikungunya fever is being seen in travelers returning to the United States from affected regions and should be considered as a diagnosis for febrile travelers, according to an ideas and opinions ...

Boost in quest for TB breath test

5 hours ago

A simple breath test may one day show whether someone has a strain of tuberculosis that will respond to a frontline antibiotic, or a drug-resistant type, scientists said Tuesday.

Three more dead from Legionnaire's disease in Spain

5 hours ago

Three more people have died from Legionnaire's disease in Catalonia in northeastern Spain, officials said Tuesday, bringing to seven the death toll from the lung infection in the region in just over a week.

User comments : 0