Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

What is the best treatment strategy for early rheumatoid arthritis?

28.10.2005


Study shows long-term benefits of initial combination therapy, including either prednisone or infliximab, over dmards alone or step-up combination therapy



A progressive, inflammatory disease affecting the joints and organs, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) claims more than two million Americans, mostly women over age 40, among its victims. While a cure has yet to be found, the treatment of RA patients has changed considerably over the last two decades. Today, the goal of therapy is not simply symptom relief, but the prevention of long-term structural damage and functional decline. Toward this end, various disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) have been proven effective in clinical trials, on their own and in tandem with various tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists. While the recent increase in therapeutic options offers much promise, it has left doctors grappling with the question: What is the best treatment strategy for a patient newly diagnosed with RA?

The results of a long-term study, featured in the November 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism provide clear answers. A team of researchers in the Netherlands compared the four most widely sanctioned and commonly prescribed treatment strategies for very early RA on 508 patients. Primarily women, with a mean age of 54, the patients had suffered disease symptoms for an average of 23 weeks before entering the trial. After randomly assigning the patients to one of four treatment strategies, the researchers closely monitored the effects and benefits for each group over the course of one year.


Group 1 (126 patients) received standard DMARD therapy, starting with methotrexate. Group 2 (121 patients) was assigned to step-combination therapy, starting with methotrexate only, adding other DMARDs and prednisone. Group 3 (133 patients) started with a combination of methotrexate, sulphasalazine and prednisone. Group 4 (128 patients) started with a combination of methotrexate and infliximab. For all groups, drug dosages were increased or switched to other (combinations of) drugs according to the treatment protocol to achieve a state of low disease activity.

At the end of the year, every group demonstrated measurable improvements, with 32 percent of all the patients achieving clinical remission of their disease. However, patients who had received initial combination therapy--either with prednisone (group 3) or with infliximab (group 4)--had significantly less progression of radiographic joint damage than did patients treated with DMARDs only (group 1), or patients assigned to step-up combination therapy (group 2). The number of patients without any progression of radiographic joint damage was also higher in groups 3 and 4 than in groups 1 and 2. Furthermore, RA patients in both initial combination therapy groups experienced earlier functional improvement than did patients in either the DMARD monotherapy or step-up combination therapy group, according to scores of the Dutch version of the Health Assessment Questionnaire. Overall, patients who received initial combination therapy experienced no more side effects than patients in the other two groups.

"Patients in groups 3 and 4 had the benefit of a more rapid relief of symptoms and improvement of physical function," observes the author, B. A. C. Dijkmans, M.D. "In addition, there is the possibility that effective suppression of disease activity during the early phases of the disease may ameliorate the long-term joint damage and poor physical function and, ideally, even induce true clinical remission without the need for ongoing DMARD treatment."

Should any patient with newly diagnosed RA be treated with a single DMARD? Would choosing this established course always make a patient vulnerable to increased disease severity? That question can only be answered with further research.

Amy Molnar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>