Arthritis Watch

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Knee OA Worse for Obese Patients

Individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who are obese aremore likely to develop advanced, end-stage disease, comparedwith healthy weight individuals, reported researchersat the recent American College of Rheumatology AnnualScientific Meeting.

Using a computer model of knee OA progression based onpublished national data, the researchers projected the occurrenceand progression of knee OA among several cohort individualsstratified by the presence at age 60 of obesity, kneepain, and radiographic OA.

The findings indicated that 70% of obese adults with mildknee OA at age 60, who survive 20 years, will develop advanced,end-stage disease by age 80. For nonobese adults withmild knee OA, 43% will have end-stage disease after 20 years.

Vitamin E Does Not Prevent RA

Data from the Women's Health Study found that taking vitaminE supplements does not lower a woman's risk of rheumatoidarthritis (RA). Some earlier observational studies indicated thatdiets high in antioxidants are linked with lower RA odds, notedthe researchers in the November 15, 2008, issue of ArthritisCare & Research.

For the current study 39,144 women at least 45 years oldwere randomly given vitamin E at a dose of 600 internationalunits every other day or placebo. During the 10-year follow-up,50 women in the vitamin E group developed RA, compared with56 in the placebo group. The researchers concluded that vitaminE supplements do not significantly affect the rate of RA.

Arthritis Pain Occurs in1 in 10 Adults

A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Researchand Quality (AHRQ) showed that approximately 21 millionAmericans (9.5% of adults 18 and older) either visited or calleda physician for a prescription to reduce arthritis pain in 2005.

AHRQ's data showed that in 2005:

  • Whereas 9.5 million adults sought treatment, women pursuedit more often than men (12% vs 7%).
  • More whites sought treatment for arthritis (10.5%), followedby blacks (just under 10%), compared with Hispanics(6%) and Asians (4%).
  • About $32 billion was spent for arthritis treatments, whichincluded doctor visits (36%), hospital care (31%), prescriptiondrugs (21%), home health care (12%) and emergencydepartment visits (<1%).

Yoga Eases RASymptoms

A new study found that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis(RA) are at greater risk of gum disease (periodontal disease). Forthe study, the researchers looked for periodontal disease in 153patients, aged 45 to 84, who had RA for an average of 11 years.Of the patients, 82% reported periodontal symptoms, includinga history of gum disease, gum recession, and gum bleeding.

After additional research, the investigators found that gumdisease correlated significantly with a patient's RA diseaseactivity score and with rheumatoid nodules. The researchersconcluded that periodontal disease is independently linkedwith RA disease activity.

Antimalarial Drug May Thwart Diabetes in Arthritis Patients

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who use hydroxychloroquinefor treatment may cut their risk of developing diabetesin half.

"People with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk fordiabetes, due to sedentary lifestyle, chronic inflammation, andthe use of steroid medications that can cause weight gain,"said lead researcher Androniki Bili, MD, prior to her presentationrecently at the American College of Rheumatology AnnualScientific Meeting.

The study involved an analysis of the medical records of1824 patients with RA without diabetes at the outset; 525 hadused hydroxychloroquine, and 1299 had never used the drug.The researchers found that, during an average of 3 years, therate of newly diagnosed diabetes among hydroxychloroquineusers was about half the rate noted in the nonusers (17.2 vs33.8 new cases of diabetes per 1000 people per year).

Further analysis adjusted for a variety of factors that mightinfluence the results indicated that having ever used hydroxychloroquinewas linked with a 53% reduction in the developmentof new diabetes cases.

"We should revisit hydroxychloroquine in the treatment ofrheumatoid arthritis, because in addition to its disease-modifyingproperties, it might prevent the development of diabetes inthis high-risk group," stated Dr. Bili.

F A S T F A C T: Rheumatoid arthritis is the mostcommon form of inflammatory arthritis, affecting>1.3 million Americans.