Updated guidelines for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has been issued by the American College of Rheumatology.
Co-authored by by physicians at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the updated guidelines highlighted the fact that proven combinations of medicines and the introduction of new anti-arthritis drugs have significantly improved the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The strategies are updated in such a way that the goal is more focused on the prevention of joint damage and disability.
According to lead author Kenneth Saag, M.D., M.Sc., a professor in the UAB Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology:
The new recommendations do not strive to replace individualized medical decisions. Instead, they are meant to guide rheumatologists and other health care workers toward the most updated recommendations.
The recommendations developed are not intended to be used in a ‘cookbook’ or prescriptive manner, or to limit a physician’s clinical judgment. They provide guidance based on clinical evidence and expert panel input.”
The last guidance issued by ACR is in year 2002. Some of the key recommendations included in the new guidelines are:
- Methotrexate or leflunomide therapy is recommended for most RA patients.
- Anti-TNF agents etanercept, infliximab, or adalimumab along with methotrexate can be used in new or early RA cases with worsening and severe symptoms.
- Doctors should not initiate or resume treatment with methotrexate, leflunomide, or biologics if RA patients have active bacterial infection, shingles (herpes-zoster), hepatitis B, hepatitis C and active or latent tuberculosis.
- Doctors should not prescribe anti-TNF agents to patients with a history of heart failure, lymphoma or multiple sclerosis.
For the complete guideline, the American College of Rheumatology has a pdf file.
The anti-TNFs popularly available in the market are:
ENBREL is a type of protein called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker that blocks the action of a substance your body’s immune system makes called TNF. People with an immune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, or psoriasis, have too much TNF in their bodies.
ENBREL can reduce the amount of active TNF in the body to normal levels, helping to treat your disease. But, in doing so, ENBREL can also lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections.
REMICADE is an advanced treatment that has been shown to have substantial benefits in patients with a number of inflammatory disorders involving the immune system. REMICADE targets specific proteins in the body’s immune system to help control the development of inflammation, significantly reducing painful symptoms in diseases such as plaque psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, adult Crohn’s disease, pediatric Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
HUMIRA is a TNF Blocker.
TNF (tumor necrosis factor) blockers are a class of medications that fight both the painful symptoms and progressive joint damage of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. They just might make a real difference in your fight against RA.
TNF blockers can slow down the rate at which RA causes damage to joints and bones. HUMIRA is one such TNF blocker.
For many patients, HUMIRA can provide relief to painful joints. It can help fight the fatigue. And it can help slow the progressive joint damage of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
As we already know, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease causing the chronic inflammation of the joints. We already know too that with the proper treatment, therapy, diet, lifestyle, etc…rheumatoid arthritis need not be a death sentence. Discuss the options with your doctor in order to still have the best quality of life despite your condition.