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Tell BC PharmaCare: Support canakinumab therapy for children in need

Arthritis Consumer Experts and Cassie and Friends Society have launched a canakinumab access campaign. 

child with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritisJuvenile arthritis (JA) affects approximately 24,000 infants to teens in BC and Canada, or 3 in every 1,000, making it one of the most common causes of chronic disability in children. Ten to 20 percent of those children have systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA), a severe and potentially life-threatening form of the disease – and many can’t get the medication they desperately need.

In partnership with Arthritis Consumer Experts, Cassie and Friends Society is leading a call for the BC Government to drastically improve the outlook of children with sJIA by allowing reimbursement coverage for canakinumab for the small number of children who need it.

Why have we launched our canakinumab access campaign?
Canakinumab is publicly funded in other Canadian provinces/territories but not BC, putting British Columbian children living with sJIA and other autoinflammatory diseases at a horrible disadvantage by denying them access to a life-changing therapy.
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Préoccupé par l’arthrose ? Cliquez ici pour un nouvel outil sur l’arthrose !

osteoarthritis (OA) tool imageLe Collège des médecins de famille du Canada (CMFC), L’Alliance de l’arthrite du Canada et le Centre for Effective Practice (CEP) se sont associés pour créer un Outil d’information sur l’arthrose. Cet outil vise à aider les médecins de famille et les autres professionnels de la santé à comprendre que l’arthrose est une maladie chronique courante et traitable en leur permettant :

  • d’identifier, d’évaluer et de surveiller l’arthrose
  • d’outiller les patients pour qu’ils se prennent en main efficacement
  • de recommander des traitements spécifiques non pharmacologiques et pharmacologiques

Nous vous encourageons à vous joindre au mouvement et à vous faire entendre pour soutenir cette importante initiative :

  • Publiez sur Twitter en utilisant le mot-clic #OutilsArthrose; en nous identifiant comme @ToolsForDocs, et en nous suivant pour obtenir les renseignements les plus récents
  • Faites la promotion de cette initiative dans vos réseaux professionnels, y compris sur LinkedIn, en utilisant le mot-clic #OutilsArthrose
  • Écrivez-nous à feedback@jointhealth.org pour partager vos impressions de l’outil et nous dire comment il vous a aidé

Worried about osteoarthritis? The Osteoarthritis (OA) Tool can help!

Osteoarthritis OA Tool Slide Image

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), the Arthritis Alliance of Canada (AAC), and the Centre for Effective Practice (CEP) have joined forces to develop the Osteoarthritis (OA) Tool to help family physicians and other health care providers understand that osteoarthritis is a common, treatable, chronic illness by providing a tool that helps providers:

  • Identify, assess, and monitor OA
  • Equip patients for high quality self-management
  • Recommend specific non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies

We encourage you to raise your voice to support this important initiative by:

  • Posting to Twitter using the hashtag #OATool
  • Promoting this initiative in your professional networks, such as LinkedIn, using the hashtag #OATool
  • Writing to us at feedback@jointhealth.org to share your impressions of the tool

Study shows that when care quality goes down, lupus damage goes up

An image with different medical and health icons

Image courtesy of digital art at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

According to findings from a recent study, poor patient-provider communication and care coordination result in increased damage in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). If you would like to learn more about how to best communicate with your rheumatologist and physician, please visit JointHealth™ Education and take Lesson 1: The Art of communicating with your rheumatologist.

The research, titled “Relationship Between Process of Care and a Subsequent Increase in Damage in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus” was published in Arthritis Care & Research. The team wanted to understand how data from the Lupus Outcome Study could be used to evaluate healthcare interactions and subsequent accumulation of damage by the disease over two years.

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LA Dodgers’ Franklin Gutierrez Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis

The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team has lost one of their outfielders to a form of inflammatory arthritis. Franklin Gutierrez signed with the Dodgers and was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) this year. While Gutierrez is likely acutely aware of the effects of his disease, the media has not provided much information about this more common than a rare form of inflammatory arthritis.baseball player sitting out possibly due to ankylosing spondylitis

The LA Times recently published an article covering the story: “Rare condition sends Dodgers’ Franklin Gutierrez to the disabled list“. Calling AS a “condition” discredits the fact that inflammatory arthritis is autoimmune in nature – like multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes and lupus – and disables people if not appropriately diagnosed and treated. The Arthritis Foundation states there are roughly 500,000 people in America that live with AS and the back pain associated with it. It also is a type of arthritis that affects men more than women – specifically males in their teens and twenties.

The issue with AS is that it takes on average seven years for men to be appropriately diagnosed; for women, 10 years. Because it strikes young people, symptoms – like chronic pain in the low back, Achilles tendon, and peripheral joints such as knees and in the hands (primarily in women) – are often ignored for years and written off as being “sports injuries” or simply “over doing it”. It is common for people to live with AS for years before they are properly diagnosed.

Gutierrez is one of the lucky few who has intensive treatment consisting of medication, diet, stretching, and massages from the LA Dodgers’ staff as stated in the LA Times article; still, this disease has forced him to sit out. Hopefully, more insight into examples like this can bring to light that autoimmune diseases like Gutierrez’s AS are far from rare, and are serious.

New research suggests why Osteoarthritis is more common in Women

According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis (OA) than men. Even though osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, scientists have not been able to find the reasons for this unequal trend.

A team of arthritis researchers from Augusta University (Kolhe et al.) have found new knowledge that can help explain why women may be at more risk for OA than men. The researchers looked at the “exosomes” (cellular packages filled with different substances our cells release to aid with cell communication) released in both male and female patients with OA.

The exosomes the researchers were concerned with were the ones that held microRNAs (miRNAs). miRNAs are short segments of RNA (a template in all cells that helps to transmit DNA instructions) that help to regulate how our body expresses the genes held in our DNA.

The results found that the miRNAs found in the exosomes studied behaved very differently in men and women. The differences lie in female miRNAs that have to do with collagen production and estrogen signaling; the female miRNAs were altered and deactivated more often than male miRNAs.

This difference led the researchers to look at estrogen’s role in OA. What they found was that when estrogen levels dropped, there was an increase in the number of cells that break down bones. This correlation is important because when women enter menopause their estrogen levels drop possibly resulting in an increased susceptibility to OA and possibly explaining why women have OA more often than men.

The team’s research into exosomes, microRNAs, and estrogen’s role in osteoarthritis provides important new insights into why women may be more at risk for developing osteoarthritis than men. For more information on osteoarthritis and treatment solutions visit Arthritis Consumer Expert’s spotlight on osteoarthritis.