Combining Meds Is Best

MARCH 01, 2006

A combination of therapies for the relief of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was found to have a greater effect than either therapy alone, as reported in the January 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism. A 2-year study involved 539 patients who had had active RA for <3 years.

The patients (mean age 52) were divided into 3 groups: one group received methotrexate; another group received injections of adalimumab; and the third group received both treatments. All groups were evaluated at 6, 12, and 24 months.

After 1 year, 62% of those on combination therapy had a 50% improvement in symptoms, compared with 41% of the adalimumab group and 46% of the methotrexate group. At 2 years, nearly half of the patients on combination therapy exhibited major clinical remission—about twice as many as either of the other groups.