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Yoga May Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms, Severity

RA patients assigned to yoga plus DMARD therapy also had a drop in depression symptoms

woman exercising

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Yoga may be effective as a complementary or adjunct therapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) taking disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), according to a study published online Feb. 1 in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

Surabhi Gautam, from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, and colleagues assessed the effect of a yoga-based mind-body intervention on disease-specific inflammatory markers and depression severity. The authors randomly assigned 72 patients with active RA on routine DMARD therapy to a yoga group (yoga with DMARDs) or a control group (DMARDs only).

The researchers found that after eight weeks, the yoga group had a significant decrease in the severity of RA, measured by lower levels of various systemic inflammatory markers as well as decreases in disease activity score 28 erythrocyte sedimentation rate and health assessment questionnaire disability index scores. Further, within the yoga group, there was a statistically significant time-dependent, stepwise drop in depression symptoms compared with the control group.

"This study offers a new option," a coauthor said in a statement. "Pharmacological treatments can be supplemented with alternative and complementary interventions like yoga to alleviate the symptoms at both physical and psychosomatic levels."

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