Category Archives: Treatments

rheumatoid arthritis research briefs remission exercise

RA Research Briefs: Remission, Biologics, Exercise

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

Smoking, Obesity Make RA Harder to Control

Remission in RA patients can be harder to achieve in those who are overweight or smoke, according to a recent study. American and Canadian researchers who collected data on more than 1,100 patients receiving standard treatment for RA found that sex (being female), excess weight and smoking were not significantly associated with symptom severity early on. However, all three factors influenced how much symptoms improved over time. The most dramatic differences in symptoms were seen in patients who were overweight or obese and smoked, the study found.

Source: ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, November 2016

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rheumatoid arthritis green tea

RA Research Briefs: Remission, Surgery, Green Tea

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

Obesity Reduces Odds of RA Remission

Research suggests weight may be a factor in whether people with RA will achieve disease remission. A review of studies screened a total 3,368 patient records. Canadian researchers found obese patients with RA were less likely to achieve remission or sustain remission compared to healthy-weight patients. Obesity, they reported, negatively impacts disease activity and patient-reported outcomes during therapy. Therefore, they say, interventions to reduce BMI should be investigated for the ability to improve disease outcomes.

Source: Arthritis Care & Research, January 2017

Continue reading RA Research Briefs: Remission, Surgery, Green Tea

rheumatoid arthritis lab tests

Rheumatoid Arthritis Research Briefs: RA Tests, Dementia, Disability

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

Obesity May Affect RA Tests

Research has shown that obesity can increase the risk of RA or worsen symptoms. A new study of more than 2,000 people with RA suggests it could also affect the results of tests used to measure RA inflammation.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found a link between body mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat) and elevated results of two common tests – SED rate and C-reactive protein (CRP) – used in diagnosing RA and gauging its activity. Researchers say this association is related to fat mass and not RA disease activity. Doctors should consider a patient’s BMI when interpreting lab results.

Source: Arthritis Care & Research, published online April, 2017

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rheumatoid arthritis biologic tapering

Research Identifies Which RA Patients May Successfully Reduce Their Biologics

A new study presented recently at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology identifies four factors that may predict which rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients might successfully taper the dose of their biologic medication.

Although biologics are highly effective in controlling RA and its symptoms, patients in some cases prefer not to use them. Past studies have shown that it is possible to taper and even stop the medication in certain patients who are in remission once they have been successfully treated with one of these drugs.

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rheumatoid arthritis treatment to prevent joint deformities

Aggressive RA Treatment May Prevent Joint Deformities

Thanks to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments, joint deformities in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are becoming less frequent and severe.

What Causes Joint Deformities in RA?

In a joint affected by RA, inflammatory cells of the immune system gather in the lining of the joint (called synovium), forming a fibrous layer of abnormal tissue (called pannus). The pannus releases substances that quicken bone erosion, cartilage destruction and damage to the surrounding ligaments. The involved joints lose their shape and alignment, resulting in deformities. Severe deformities lead to loss of joint function and the need for joint replacement surgery.

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fish rheumatoid arthritis

Eating Fish May Relieve RA

Eating fish at least twice a week may help reduce inflammation and joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new analysis published recently in Arthritis Care & Research.

Fish oil supplements have long been known to improve pain as well as increase remission rates in RA patients taking triple therapy. This is among the first studies to show that fish itself – with lower concentrations than supplements of the active ingredients, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – may be just as good.

But, the study authors say more studies are needed, noting, “…we cannot draw firm conclusions about the impact of frequent fish consumption on RA activity.”

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Fibromyalgia and RA

RA With a Side of Fibromyalgia

For years, fibromyalgia was a mystery illness. No one knew what caused it, how to diagnose it or how best to treat it. Some people, including doctors, even questioned its existence. In the last few years, however, researchers have cleared up some of the mystery. Although much about fibromyalgia still isn’t understood completely, two things are clear: It’s very real, and it affects a disproportionate number of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
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Biologics Rheumatoid Arthritis Cancer

Biologics Appear Safe for Some Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Who’ve Had Cancer

Researchers set out to answer a pressing question: Is it safe for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who have had cancer in the past to use a biologic drug rather than a traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), like methotrexate, to control their disease? Their answer, detailed in a study recently published online in the journal Rheumatology, is reassuring. They found that patients with a previous malignancy who later took certain biologics did not appear to have an increased risk of cancer after an average of five years, compared to those who took a traditional DMARD.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Outcomes Lifestyle

Outlook Brighter For People With Rheumatoid Arthritis

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are likely to have a much better quality of life today than they did two decades ago. Researchers in the Netherlands observed more than 1,100 patients diagnosed with RA between 1990 and 2011. They attribute the gains to earlier diagnosis, more aggressive medications and a greater emphasis on overall well-being. Their findings were published in Arthritis Care & Research in 2014.

Lead author Cecile Overman, a postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, says she and her colleagues wanted to determine if improved treatments over the last 20 years led to better physical and psychological health for RA patients. Continue reading Outlook Brighter For People With Rheumatoid Arthritis