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
Eating Fish Helps Ease RA
Eating fish two or more times a week may reduce disease activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis. In a recent study, 176 people with RA completed a food frequency questionnaire. Those who reported consuming two or more servings of fish weekly had significantly lower DAS-CRP scores (a measure of disease activity based on number of affected joints and laboratory measures of inflammation) compared those who ate less than one serving per month. Furthermore, participants’ DAS-CRP scores improved as fish consumption increased.
Depression and Anxiety Lower Chances of Remission
Depression and anxiety can make rheumatoid arthritis harder to live with, and may also reduce your chances of having pain-free joints, according to a new study. Norwegian doctors looked at the effect of depression/anxiety on remission in 1,326 people with RA or psoriatic arthritis beginning their first TNF-inhibitor or methotrexate. They found that baseline depression/anxiety was associated with increased disease activity and tender joint count and painful joints in RA. However, it was not associated with swollen joint count or blood markers inflammation such as C-reactive protein.