From today’s Times

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondilytis (like me), is never easy. Some days the pain is so bad I can hardly breathe. Last Friday was one of those days when I had to resort back to walking with my cane. People look at you and cannot understand what is happening. I got more sympathy, (including that from relatives) when I broke my arm, rather than this grinding, ever-present pain. So this article in today’s Times is a good eye-opener…

Quotes from Times:

Clinical trial results described as “striking and exciting” could lead to new treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis.

The antibody drug tocilizumab was almost four times more likely to halt progression of the condition than the most widely prescribed alternative.

It also achieved significantly greater reduction in disease signs and symptoms after six months.

Scientists compared tocilizumab, marketed as RoActemra, with the “anti-TNF” drug adalimumab (Humira).

The drugs were tested in a group of 326 patients unable to take the mainstay treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), methotrexate (MTX).

MTX is ruled out for roughly a third of patients, many of whom suffer unbearable side effects such as vomiting, hair loss and mouth ulcers.

Currently, such individuals generally move onto anti-TNF drugs, which target a molecule called tumour necrosis factor that promotes inflammation.Tocilizumab works in a completely different way by targeting another inflammatory protein, interleukin six (IL-6).

Consultant rheumatologist Paul Emery, from the University of Leeds, who took part in the Adacta trial, said: “These results are impressive and important for the 30 per cent of patients with RA who cannot take methotrexate. In RA, disease remission is the goal of therapy.

“However, for varied reasons, many patients fail to achieve this goal.”

The findings were presented in Berlin at Eular, the annual meeting of the European Congress of Rheumatology.
At €11,800 per patient per year, RoActemra costs about the same as Humira. The new results may lead to the drug being given to larger numbers of patients on its own.

With any medical condition, remission is the number one target. Curing the person of their illness and enabling them to get on with their life is the ultimate goal.

For those with rheumatoid arthritis however, there is no cure, they will always have rheumatoid arthritis. Remission for those with RA does not mean the disease has gone, it just means it is better controlled.