Areas of Investigation for Rheumatoid Arthritis

A growing body of evidence indicates that infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria, may trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people who have an inherited predisposition to the disease. Scientists are trying to discover which infectious agents may be responsible and how they trigger arthritis.
Researchers are searching for new drugs or combinations of drugs that can reduce inflammation and slow or stop the progression of rheumatoid arthritis with few side effects. Already, the new biologic response modifiers infliximab (Remicade®), adalimumab (Humira®), and etanercept (Enbrel®) are proving to be extremely effective for some people. Studies show that these treatments are more effective at slowing joint damage than methotrexate alone.
Combination treatment with etanercept and methotrexate or infliximab and methotrexate has been found even more effective than either of the new treatments alone (methotrexate was used for comparison because it is a commonly prescribed "front-line" treatment).
Investigators have also shown that treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with minocycline, a drug in the tetracycline family, has a modest benefit.
Other studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in certain fish or plant seed oils may also reduce rheumatoid arthritis inflammation. However, many people are not able to tolerate the large amounts of oil necessary for any benefit.
Quality of Life
Rheumatoid arthritis research scientists are examining many issues related to quality of life for people with rheumatoid arthritis and the quality, cost, and effectiveness of the healthcare services they receive. Some new techniques for managing symptoms under investigation include tai chi (a form of movement-based meditation) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (a technique that teaches you to anticipate and prepare yourself for the situations and bodily sensations that may trigger painful symptoms).
Scientists have found that even a small improvement in a patient's sense of physical and mental well-being can have an impact on his or her quality of life and use of healthcare services.
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Information About Rheumatoid Arthritis

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