January 4, 2010

Biologics Transform RA Outlook

By Kelley Luckstein

When MedPage Today contacted Joan Von Feldt, MD, to talk about the changes she'd witnessed in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) care in the past 25 years, she offered one piece of advice:


"I hope, in your article, you reflect the excitement that rheumatologists have in managing this disease, because it's so much more satisfying," said Von Feldt, a rheumatologist at the University of Pennsylvania…


For RA patients in the mid-1980s, the gold standard for treatment was, in fact, gold…


Gold was not a pleasant drug to take. Injectable versions induced mouth sores, skin rashes, and itching, while diarrhea was common with oral formulations. It remains available but is seldom prescribed. "Gold is best used by a jeweler or a banker," laughed Eric Matteson, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, when asked if he ever considers it…


Rheumatologists also agreed that tools for evaluating RA patients had improved markedly, if not so dramatically as treatments have. Diagnosis and monitoring had been mainly a clinical art in the 1980s. Now, said Matteson, "we've become more comfortable with more formal assessments of disease activity."


MedPage Today, by John Gever,


Additional coverage:

ABC News

Tags: gold, rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology

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