More than 15,000 doctors, nurses, physical therapists, researchers, scientists and others with interest and/or expertise in rheumatology gathered in Chicago in late October for the American College of Rheumatology’s Annual Meeting. The Arthritis Foundation had a contingent of “patient representatives” attending to provide the perspective and voice of people living with arthritis. They fanned out to attend sessions, view and present posters and collect information about exciting new developments in the field. Here are their notes from the final sessions of the meeting.
Physical exercise is recommended as the first approach for relief of arthritis symptoms, yet many people do not participate in regular physical activity. New research suggests that doctors and other health care professionals who treat people with arthritis are doing a better job at counseling them on physical exercise, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
A study published recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the number of people with arthritis who said they were counseled by a health care professional about doing exercise to improve arthritis symptoms increased by 18 percent between 2002 and 2014, from 52 percent to 61 percent. But that means that approximately 40 percent of people with arthritis who seek medical care still are not getting appropriate counseling at their medical visits. The findings appeared in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), published by the CDC.
Biotech giant Sanofi Genzyme has initiated a voluntary product recall for one lot of Synvisc-One, a brand of hyaluronic acid. The lot, which was found to contain contamination, has been linked to an unexpected increase in side effects. In an urgent “product hold” letter, doctors, clinics and pharmacies who received syringes from that lot were instructed to immediately stop using the injections on patients until the company can investigate.
Continue reading Synvisc-One Injections Recalled
Ninety percent of people in the United States who have the chronic autoimmune disease lupus are women and, according to two new studies published recently in Arthritis & Rheumatology, large proportions are Hispanic or Asian. Like African-Americans, these two ethnic/racial groups are not only at higher risk of lupus than whites, they’re also more likely to have aggressive forms of the disease, researchers in New York and San Francisco found.
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an affect virtually every organ system, and symptoms vary widely. Some patients have relatively mild skin and joint symptoms that may go into remission for long periods. Others have cognitive (neuropsychiatric) manifestations or life-threatening complications such as lung, heart and kidney problems.
A big study published in 2016, called the PRECISION trial, found that people with arthritis who take the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen are more likely to develop cardiovascular problems than those using celecoxib – and now researchers think they know why. Ibuprofen raises blood pressure, according to new findings presented recently at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona.
The number of biosimilars approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to grow in the United States, and they are slowly becoming available to consumers.
In late August, the FDA approved Cyltezo (adalimumab-adbm), a second biosimilar to Humira (adalimumab). But like the first biosimilar, Amjevita (adalimumab-atto), which was approved in September 2016, it is not yet available to U.S. consumers because of pending patent litigation with AbbVie, the manufacturer of Humira.
“You are what you eat” is a phrase we often hear. But how true is it? Dr. Richard F. Loeser, Jr. and his research team are looking at the role of diet in their Arthritis Foundation-funded project “The Role of the Microbiome in Metabolic Osteoarthritis (OA)”.
Different factors play into why a person develops OA, including aging, injury, and being overweight. Diet plays an important role. What you eat can help influence what bacteria (or microbiota) live in your digestive track (gut). This, in turn, can influence what chemicals are released into your body. A healthy gut generally has a more diverse collection of helpful microbiota, while a microbial imbalance can lead to disease.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mild to moderate fibromyalgia, exercise and other non-drug therapies should be your first line of treatment, according to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), an international group of health professionals in rheumatology. EULAR’s updated fibromyalgia treatment recommendations, published in 2016 in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, are similar to the 2007 version, but this time they are based on hard evidence, which was scarce 10 years ago, rather than on expert opinions.
For the updated guidelines, researchers reviewed 107 research papers. Assessing outcomes for pain, fatigue, sleep and daily functioning, they ranked their recommendations of various therapies as “strong for,” “weak for,” “weak against” and “strong against.”
“Why did my child get arthritis?” This parent-driven question is at the heart of Dr. Jim Jarvis’s juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) Arthritis Foundation-funded project, “Interplay between genetics and epigenetics in polyarticular JIA”.
“This is less about an illness driven by inherited genes and more about how the environment affects gene expression,” explained Dr. Jarvis. “It’s been shown that only about 30 percent of the risk for developing JIA can be attributed to gene variations.”
At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Endo Pharmaceuticals has removed from the market its long-acting opioid pain medication, Opana ER (oxymorphone hydrochloride extended release), which some patients with arthritis take to manage chronic pain.