Therapeutic Yoga : Yoga Poses for Rheumatoid Arthritis
New hope for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers
Trial shows rituximab can slow progress of disease
Treating rheumatoid arthritis with a drug currently used only when patients are severely disabled appears to slow the progression of the disease dramatically, a study suggests.
A trial involvingrituximab, an advanced antibody drug, has shown a remarkable reduction in symptoms for patients in the early stages of the disease.
Almost 500,000 people in Britain are affected byrheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks thejoints. About 40% of sufferers are forced to stop work during the first five years of their illness. The condition costs the economy about£4 billiona year.
A total of 755 patients took part in the Image trial, led by Professor Paul-Peter Tak, from the University of Amsterdam. All participants had recently received anarthritisdiagnosis and had generally suffered the disease for less than a year.
After a year of treatment, those receiving a combination of methotrexate, a ‘gold standard’ early-stage treatment, andrituximabwere found to be three times as likely to have fewer symptoms than those on methotrexate alone. During the second six months, continuingjoint damagewas almost completely halted in patients treated with rituximab.
Under current guidelines, patients qualify for rituximab, which is marketed as MabThera, only on failing to respond to weaker drugs. Originally developed to treatleukaemia, the injected drug targets specialised white blood cells that play a key role in the immune response behindrheumatoid arthritis.
Video: Doctors 'Hack' Into Nerves To 'Cure' Rheumatoid Arthritis
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