This according to results of the Swefot national clinical study, which is to be presented at an international rheumatology congress in Paris by scientists from Swedish Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, who conducted the study in association with another 15 rheumatology units in Sweden.
Some 60,000 people in Sweden have rheumatoid arthritis, and another 1,500 develop the disease every year. The symptoms are swollen, tender joints and impaired mobility. Some patients respond poorly to medical treatment and/or develop side effects. The Swefot study, which was launched in 2002, shows that a certain combination of pharmacological medicines and new biological medicines is more efficacious on these patients.
“After the disease has been confirmed in a patient, we start by treating it with Methotrexate, MTX,” says Ronald van Vollenhoven, Associate Professor and Senior Physician, and member of the study’s steering committee. “But for the group of patients who don’t respond well to MTX, it’s more effective to add a biological medicine than to combine MTX with an older drug.”
Biological medicines are a new group of drugs that have been in use for ten years and that are produced using modern DNA-based methods. What makes them special is that they can be designed to target a specific goal, which makes them more efficacious and reduces the risk of adverse reaction. They can only be injected and are complicated to produce, which means that the cost of a drug for one patient can exceed 100,000 kronor a year.
“Biological medicines have revolutionised rheumatologic therapy, but there are still some concerns, as the long-term effects are not fully known, and these medications are very expensive”, says Dr van Vollenhoven. “The Swefot trial is the first study in which the addition of biological treatment is compared directly to the addition of conventional antirheumatic medications.”
The study involved 487 patients, who had developed rheumatoid arthritis in the previous year. First they were treated with the most established anti-rheumatic medicine Methotrexate (MTX); after three or four months, the 258 patients who did not respond well to MTX were divided randomly into two treatment groups. Group A received a combination treatment with MTX, Sulfasalazin, and Plaquenil, three proven anti-rheumatic drugs. Group B received treatment with MTX and anti-TNF or Remicade (Infliximab), one of the most widely used biological drugs.
The analysis showed after twelve months that 26 per cent of the patients in Group A and 42 per cent of the patients in Group B responded well to the therapy. The difference was highly statistically significant and has been corroborated by several other analyses that also suggest the better efficacy of treatment strategy B. For the patients, a good response to the medicines means less pain and stiffness, better general wellbeing, improved function and a better quality of life.
Reference: The results of the study are to be presented on 12 June 2008 at an international rheumatism congress in Paris organised by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). See the abstract for details of participating hospitals and scientists.
Katarina Sternudd | alfa
Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University
Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
26.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy