July Arthritis News Roundup

The Arthritis Foundation is your trusted source for information, and we’re staying on top of the latest arthritis-related news that could affect you. Here’s what you need to know about some of the headlines from this past month.

Coronavirus and Arthritis News
The new coronavirus pandemic has created a new normal for us and has changed the way you manage your arthritis. We’re keeping you updated on the latest developments, and talking to top experts to get credible, reliable information you need to know about COVID-19 and how it may impact you. Get the latest in our Care & Connect resource center.

Newly Discovered Cell Could Help Predict Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares
In a small study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers identified a never-been-seen cell type that appeared in patients’ blood a week before their rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms flared. Researchers named these cells “pre-inflammatory mesenchymal,” or PRIME, cells. For those with RA, not knowing when a flare will occur is one of the most unsettling aspects of the autoimmune disease. “The hardest thing about being diagnosed with arthritis and living with it is the unexpected,” said RA patient Rebecca Gillett, health messaging strategist at the Arthritis Foundation. More research is needed, and it could be a while before for a product is available for consumers’ use.

Heart Disease Often Missed in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of most types of cardiovascular disease, but there are no rheumatoid arthritis-specific recommendations for cardiovascular disease risk prediction in the United States. Clinicians in the U.S. recommend the use a cardiovascular disease risk algorithm developed for their specific population, such as the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Pooled Cohort Equation risk calculator (ACC/AHA PCE).

FDA Approves Gulselkumab for Active Psoriatic Arthritis
The FDA has approved guselkumab (Tremfya) for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis, according to a company press release from Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The FDA based its approval on results from two phase-3 clinical trials examining the safety and efficacy of guselkumab for the treatment of adults with active PsA.

Arthritis Drugs May be Effective for Dupuytren’s Contracture
Researchers in Scotland have identified medications used to treat inflammatory forms of arthritis that may also be effective against Dupuytren’s contracture, a progressive disorder of the hand that has few existing treatments besides surgery. Dupuytren’s contracture causes fingers to contract toward the palm of the hand, which can impair hand movement and limit daily activities severely. Now, however, the researchers have identified two types of drugs used to treat some forms of arthritis that may also be effective for Dupuytren’s contracture. “The message from this is that we think that direct blockade of cytokines which has been so successful in inflammatory arthritis can be utilized to treat the disabling effects of Dupuytren’s,” says lead study author Neal Millar, PhD, at the University of Glascow. “Thus, our main discovery was that two classes of arthritis drugs, namely cytokine inhibitors and JAK inhibitors, could be repurposed to treat another disabling musculoskeletal condition.” A patent is pending.

Regular Use of Some Upset-Stomach Meds May Raise RA Risk
According to a recent study in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, regular use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is associated with an increased the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. PPIs are among the most commonly prescribed medications used worldwide. It is used for a variety of acid-related disorders such as peptic ulcer disease, non-ulcer dyspepsia, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. The study looked at data from female nurses and found that those who used PPIs were more likely to develop RA, and the longer they used them, the higher the risk. The study did not find the PPI used caused RA, however, and more research is needed.




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