New research has revealed that a common drug, usually used for the treatment of arthritis, also has effective health benefits for treating other rare rheumatic conditions.
Rheumatic conditions are autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that act against a person’s defence system by attacking healthy cells and tissues, causing immense pain and damage to the joints, muscles, bones, and organs including the heart, eyes and lungs.1
Around 10 million people in the UK are living with a form of arthritis1, while over 52.5 million US adults have also developed a rheumatic condition2, highlighting the staggering amount of people that this new form of treatment could benefit. The drug has been suggested to replace steroid medication for rheumatic conditions such as Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) and Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR), which often introduce severe side effects, such as diabetes and osteoporosis. An international trial of the treatment found that more than half of patients with GCA were able to come off steroids after 12 months, resulting in an improvement in their overall health.
Professor Bhaskar Dasgupta, consultant rheumatologist at Southend University Hospital in Essex, explained how:
‘This is exciting news and a major breakthrough. It will hopefully mean patients won’t have to take long-term steroids.’3
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1-British Society for Rheumatology
2- American College of Rheumatology
*for research use only