Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biologics may prevent premature death in people with rheumatoid arthritis, study suggests

Date:
November 11, 2012
Source:
American College of Rheumatology (ACR)
Summary:
According to new research, treatment with biologic medications may reduce the risk of premature death in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

According to research presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., treatment with biologic medications may reduce the risk of premature death in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, limitation of motion and loss of function of multiple joints. Though joints are the principal areas affected by RA, inflammation can develop in other organs as well. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased mortality rate. An estimated 1.3 million Americans have RA, and the disease typically affects women twice as often as men.

Biologic agents such as anti-tumor necrosis factor drugs (commonly called anti-TNF) are prescribed to control inflammation and prevent joint damage caused by RA. Biologics are also effective at reducing pain and improving physical function. Researchers from the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, University of British Columbia, evaluated if the benefits of reducing inflammation lead to a lowered risk of premature death in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers reviewed patient data from the Canadian Ministry of Health. The study included all reported RA cases that received care between January 1996 and March 2006. Cases were followed until March 2010. All health care services used -- including medications, hospitalizations and lab tests from January 1990 -- were evaluated.

Patients who used a biologic agent during follow-up were placed in one group. Each patient in this biologic group was then matched to a patient from a control group who never used a biologic agent, but was treated with at least three disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, such as methotrexate (Rheumatrex®, Trexall®), leflunomide (Arava®), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®) or gold, and had changed DMARD therapy within the last six months. Additional match criteria included age, sex, calendar year of study inclusion and markers of RA disease severity identified in administrative data.

To reduce study bias, researchers took into consideration differences in disease severity, and other factors that may influence the risk of premature death, between the two groups. Researchers evaluated the risk of premature death associated with biologic treatment measured daily from the time of starting biologic until death or until the end of follow-up. Exposure was defined as therapy use from the beginning of treatment and up to three months after therapy was discontinued.

The study evaluated 4,312 total participants, of which 2,156 were biologic users and 2,156 were matched controls. The participants' mean age was 56 years-old and 74.7 percent of participants were female. The researchers observed 573 deaths of which 326 were in the control group and 247 in the biologic users group. The study revealed that exposure to biologics was associated with a 25 percent reduction in risk of premature death compared to no biologic use. Study limitations include the fact that the treatment studied was not randomly assigned, therefore there may have some selection bias that makes people who received biologic treatment different from those who did not; and the results may also have been influenced by factors that the researchers were not able to be measure using administrative data.

"Since people with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk of dying prematurely, knowing that the medications used to treat the disease reduce risk of [premature] death is meaningful for people living with RA and their physicians," says Diane Lacaille, MD, FRCPC, MHSC, lead investigator of the study, senior scientist and associate professor at the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, University of British Columbia. "Specifically, the study results will help people weigh the risks and benefits of these medications when they are deciding whether to start taking them to treat the disease."

Patients should talk to their rheumatologists to determine their best course of treatment.

Funding for this study was provided by the Canadian Institute of Health Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American College of Rheumatology (ACR). "Biologics may prevent premature death in people with rheumatoid arthritis, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121111153430.htm>.
American College of Rheumatology (ACR). (2012, November 11). Biologics may prevent premature death in people with rheumatoid arthritis, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121111153430.htm
American College of Rheumatology (ACR). "Biologics may prevent premature death in people with rheumatoid arthritis, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121111153430.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye'

Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye'

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) — A legally blind Michigan man is 'seeing something new every day' thanks to a high-tech retinal implant procedure. He's one of the first in the country to receive a 'bionic eye' since the federal government approved the surgery. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins