Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rheumatoid arthritis

Study shows effectiveness of new treatment used to fight rheumatoid arthritis
Repeat the treatment every six months brings better results

A recent study published during the last congress of the American Insitute of Reumathology (ACR), held in Philadelphia, USA, showed that substance use rituximab (MabThera ®) every six months can bring a better control of rheumatoid arthritis, and some cases, the remission of symptoms. Patients treated with multiple applications of rituximab achieved continuous improvement of symptoms, demonstrating the effectiveness of the drug in the long term. The study followed 850 patients for three years and proved that each new course of treatment, more patients reached remission of the disease.

Furthermore, patients who participated in the study demonstrated improvement in physical condition and better control of joint damage when compared with those not taking MabThera ® (rituximab), trade name of the drug. According to the study, best results are achieved when the use occurs systematically at intervals of six months.

If untreated, the disease causes damage to the joints that may prevent the patient to perform daily activities such as dressing, walking, holding a glass and even get out of bed in the morning. Once installed, the joint deformities are irreversible and lead to functional impairment.Therefore, the correct diagnosis and early diagnosis is important so that appropriate treatment has a chance to prevent the patient's life is jeopardized by the problems caused by the disease.

Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease, mainly characterized by inflammation of the joints but also by systemic symptoms such as weakness and anemia. The disease, which as yet has no cure, affects 1.5% of world population and is more common in women between 30 and 50 years of age.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks the joints producing an inflammatory synovitis that often progresses to destruction of the articular cartilage and ankylosis of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also produce diffuse inflammation in the lungs, pericardium, pleura, and sclera, and also nodular lesions, most common in subcutaneous tissue under the skin. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, autoimmunity plays a pivotal role in its chronicity and progression.About 1% of the world's population is afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis, women three times more often than men. Onset is most frequent between the ages of 40 and 50, but people of any age can be affected. It can be a disabling and painful condition, which can lead to substantial loss of functioning and mobility. It is diagnosed chiefly on symptoms and signs, but also with blood tests (especially a test called rheumatoid factor) and X-rays.

Diagnosis and long-term management are typically performed by a rheumatologist, an expert in the diseases of joints and connective tissues.Various treatments are available. Non-pharmacological treatment includes physical therapy,orthoses and occupational therapy. Analgesia (painkillers) and anti-inflammatory drugs, including steroids, are used to suppress the symptoms, while disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often required to inhibit or halt the underlying immune process and prevent long-term damage. In recent times, the newer group of biologics has increased treatment options

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