A rheumatologist proposes an improved treatment policy for people with early rheumatoid arthritis in the May 2006 issue Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology. He recommends a combination drug therapy for early rheumatoid arthritis if symptoms can't be alleviated with the usual treatment, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
John Kirwan comments on the largest study to date to find improvement in the symptoms of early rheumatoid arthritis after 2 years of this combination therapy. Patients took a low-dose glucocorticoid, prednisolone, in combination with routine medications called DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs). Low-dose glucocorticoids are the only drugs that can stop the joint destruction caused by rheumatoid arthritis, whereas other treatments can only slow the damage.
Glucocorticoid drugs are often shunned because of side effects, like osteoporosis (fragile bones), in people who took high doses of these drugs in the past. Kirwan notes that a low dose of prednisolone does not appear to cause osteoporosis, at least during only 2 years of treatment.
John Kirwan (University of Bristol, UK)
Emma Campbell, (Editor, Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology)
(C) Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza