Intensive Arthritis Therapy Helps Symptoms
Monthly injections better for those with rheumatoid form
TUESDAY, July 20, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Monthly treatment with antirheumatic drugs and steroid injections can substantially improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis compared to the standard outpatient treatment schedule of every three months.
Doctors at Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, investigated whether a more intensive approach could be better at improving arthritis symptoms.
About 82 percent of patients given intensive therapy responded well to treatment, compared to 44 percent of patients in the group that received standard treatment.
Also, 65 percent of people receiving intensive treatment were in remission by the end of the 18-month study, as opposed to 16 percent of patients receiving standard care.
The study, which appeared in the July 16 issue of The Lancet, found that costs did not rise despite the more intense treatment.
"Despite initial concerns, cost did not differ between intensive management of patients and routine treatment," lead researcher Dr. Duncan Porter said in a statement. "More importantly, our results show that a strategy of optimizing current techniques and treatment regimens can deliver substantial patient benefits."
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has a Q&A about arthritis.