Published on September 27th, 2013 | by dc0
The New Developments For Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
Rheumatoid arthritis, often shortened to RA is a disease of the immune system that causes the joints and other parts of the body to be chronically inflamed. It affects people from all age groups. A challenge with RA is that what causes it is yet to be discovered which has made finding effective rheumatoid arthritis treatment very difficult.
RA is chronic and it is marked with periods when the disease flares up and then recedes. In most cases, but not all, several joints are affected in a symmetrical pattern. This means that both sides of the body are affected. The chronic inflammation can leave joints permanently damaged and deformed. Diagnosis is made with a blood test known as the rheumatoid factor which tests for antibodies. They are found in up to 80 percent of patients who have RA.
RA is a rheumatic disease that is quite common. At least two million people in the US have the disease. It afflicts women more than men, with three times as many women than men living with the illness. It affects people of all races and it can affect both the young and the old. However, it is mostly seen in people aged over forty and below 60 years of age. Sometimes, more than one member of the family can be found to have it, suggesting that genetics may have a role to play.
At the moment, there is no cure that is known for RA. It can however be managed with patients being educated in it, getting enough rest and exercise, being careful about protecting their joints and medication for controlling the symptoms. Surgery may sometimes be done. Doctors generally agree that patients should receive aggressive treatment as soon as possible in order to improve their long term prospects.
Over the years, there have been developments in developing drugs that can keep RA under control. One is Adalimumab which was approved by the FDA in 2003. It is an artificial human antibody that binds itself to, TNF- alpha, a protein that aggravates inflammation.
In RA patients, too much of this protein is produced in the joints which plays a major role of setting off inflammation. Research that has been done so far suggests that blocking it can be effective in stopping the disease from becoming even more serious. This blocking approach is behind the formulation of two drugs on the market. One is Etanercept which is marketed as Enbrel and Infliximab which is marketed as Remicade.
These are very significant developments that have made a big difference in the lives of RA patients. The frequency and intensity of inflammation are reduced. This way, patients can live quite a normal life that is often disrupted with inflammation of the joints and other parts of the body.
Continuing research into Adalimumab, which is also marketed as D2E7 or Humira has shown that it is effective as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment option. It is effective as a single treatment or in combination with other types of modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. Humira has found to be effective in doses of 20mg per week or one of 40mg that is taken once every other week. The drug is taken subcutaneously meaning that patients inject themselves with it.