All posts by Arthritis Foundation

vitamin d deficiency

RA Research Briefs: Vitamin D, Shingles, Jobs

Keep up-to-date on the latest rheumatoid arthritis (RA) research with our brief research summaries. 

Vitamin D Deficiency Associ­ated with Neuropathic Pain

People with RA who suffer from neuro­pathic pain – or, understandably, are try­ing to avoid it – may do well to have their vitamin D levels checked. A study examined neuropathic pain indicators as well as blood samples of 93 patients with RA. The researchers found the prevalence of neuro­pathic pain was almost six times higher in patients with serum vitamin D levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) than in patients with vitamin D levels ≥ 30 ng/mL. Anything below 20 ng/mL is considered a deficiency.

SOURCE: International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, August 31, 2017

Continue reading RA Research Briefs: Vitamin D, Shingles, Jobs

rheumatoid arthritis

Interval Training: A HIIT for RA?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) tops the American College of Sports Medicine’s list of most popular workouts. According to a small study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy, it might be just the ticket for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), too.

HIIT is an aerobic, heart-pumping form of exercise where short bursts of maximum effort, usually lasting from 20 to 60 seconds, alternate with less intense recovery periods. Studies suggest that HIIT is as effective at burning calories and improving heart and lung health as steady-state exercises like running or biking. One 2018 meta-analysis found that HIIT was significantly better than moderately intense steady exercise for patients with heart disease.

Only a few small studies have looked at HIIT for people who have RA.  On the whole, they showed that participants lost weight, gained muscle and improved their joint health without any increase in inflammation or pain. But researchers at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, wanted to learn more, including whether HIIT could improve disease activity and immune function.

Continue reading Interval Training: A HIIT for RA?

meditation ra psa

Meditation for RA and PsA

Meditation is good for your soul. Research shows it can also help ease pain caused by all types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and osteoarthritis (OA).

For centuries, meditation has been used to help focus the mind and soothe the spirit. But scientific evidence suggests this ancient practice – particularly a modern form known as mindfulness meditation or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) – offers a variety of health benefits, including relief for chronic joint pain and skin disorders like psoriasis.

Continue reading Meditation for RA and PsA

rheumatoid arthritis treatment fda approved

FDA Approves a New Oral Drug for Moderate to Severe RA

People with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who haven’t responded well to one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor medications now have a new option. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved baricitinib (Olumiant), a pill that is taken once a day.

Baricitinib is a targeted disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) that blocks Janus kinase (JAK), a group of enzymes that enable inflammatory signals to be activated inside a cell. It’s the second in this class of drug to hit the market for the treatment of RA; tofacitinib (Xeljanz) was the first, approved in 2012.

“It’s not a biologic but a ‘small molecule,’ or oral, targeted agent, that is highly effective in treating the signs and symptoms of RA,” explains Paul Howard, MD, a rheumatologist in Scottsdale, AZ. It is expected to be significantly cheaper than biologic medications.  Continue reading FDA Approves a New Oral Drug for Moderate to Severe RA

eating fish rheumatoid arthritis

RA Research Briefs: Tofacitinib, Fish, Remission

Keep up-to-date on the latest rheumatoid arthritis (RA) research with our brief research summaries.

Tofacitinib Plus Methotrexate May Work As Well As Biologic

If methotrexate (MTX) alone fails to control RA, adding the oral Janus kinase (JAX) inhibitor tofacitinib (Xeljanz) may be as effective as the standard practice of adding a biologic. The JAX inhibitor belongs to the third category of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) called targeted DMARDs. In a study of 1,146 patients with rheumatoid arthritis that had not adequately responded to MTX alone, approximately a third were switched to tofacitinib, while the others received either tofacitinib or the biologic adalimumab (Humira) along with methotrexate. At 6 months, only 38% of the patients receiving tofacitinib mono­therapy achieved ACR50 – 50 percent improvement – while 46% of patients that received tofacitinib and MTX achieved that response. Forty-four percent of patients who combined adalimubab with MTX achieved the similar improved response of the tofacitnib and MTX group.

SOURCE: The Lancet, July 2017  Continue reading RA Research Briefs: Tofacitinib, Fish, Remission

rheumatoid arthritis pregnancy

Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares: The Ups and Downs of Pregnancy

For some women with RA, pregnancy brings on an unexpected bonus: improved symptoms. Approximately 70% of women with RA experience improved symptoms in the second trimester that can last through the first 6 weeks after delivery, says J. Bruce Smith, MD, assistant compliance officer for research at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a rheumatologist whose research has focused largely on autoimmune disease and pregnancy.

Continue reading Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares: The Ups and Downs of Pregnancy