American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, Nov. 12-17, 2005
The American College of Rheumatology held its annual scientific meeting Nov. 12-17 in San Diego, Calif.
Eric Ruderman, M.D., of Northwestern University, a member of one of the meeting's abstract selection committees, estimated that more than 12,000 people attended the conference, including 9,200 scientists.
The meeting brought together the world's experts on osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and more, Ruderman said. "It's a huge meeting." Hot topics ranged from a new treatment for gout to the effects of sildenafil on blood flow during exercise in connective tissue disease patients.
"The hot issues included rheumatoid arthritis, and what to do with patients who are not responding to the TNF-antagonists out there," said Ruderman. "We heard interesting information on some new medications coming along that may have value in that population, rituximab and abatacept in particular."
"Arthritis and joint pain are probably the top one or two reasons people go into primary care offices," said Ruderman. "Musculoskeletal symptoms of one sort or another are one of the main reasons people go to the doctor. It's of enormous interest. A fraction will have inflammatory arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis or something specific, but it's enough people so that advances in the management of arthritis of any sort will have an impact on an enormous number of patients."
Another issue generating a lot of interest was a large trial involving the effect of glucosamine sulfate on osteoarthritis of the knee, said Ruderman. "They highlighted a few subgroups, but essentially, it didn't work."
The meeting also spotlighted the need to protect joint pain patients from other diseases they are susceptible to, Ruderman said. "We're increasingly recognizing that our patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. But a couple of papers suggested that the use of aspirin as a cardioprotective is much lower in these patients than it should be," Ruderman said. "That highlights the fact that there may not be general recognition of this among our practitioners. That's important."
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