Updates from the Rheumatologist.
With the wide variety of treatment options currently available and more in the pipeline, payers are faced with the challenge of identifying the most clinically and economically effective allocation of treatments for RA.
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) act by altering the underlying disease rather than treating symptoms. They're not painkillers, but they'll reduce pain, swelling and stiffness over a period of weeks or months by slowing down the disease and its effects on the joints. There are two types: conventional DMARDs and biological therapies.
Several important lines of population and large cohort research have shown that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients have a substantially higher risk for myocardial infarction and major cardiovascular events...Several studies have documented the protective and normalizing effects of chronic methotrexate and TNF inhibition in lowering these morbid and mortal outcomes.
NSAIDs are recommended and prescribed to rheumatoid arthritis patients early on and throughout the disease course. Early use of NSAIDs helps alleviate symptoms of pain and stiffness by reducing inflammation in patients. Often times, DMARDs take weeks or months to begin working and so patients choose NSAIDs in the meantime to alleviate pain and continue with their daily activities.
This new arthritis medication might ease your joint pain — but it can also come with some risks.
The bottom line is that it’s great that there is apparently an effective therapy using well-known, older drugs. I’m all for treatments that work regardless of the form they take including drug therapy, natural supplements, diet, exercise, or a combination thereof. If it slows down or stops RA (without also killing or maiming the patient), I’m all for it. What I don’t want is the economic or other factors somehow interfering with the doctor-patient relationship that should be primary in prescribing a treatment plan.