The Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) and the Canadian Spondylitis Association (CSA) are pleased to announce an upcoming patient forum on ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Patients with AS and a family member are invited to attend this free informational event. Lectures and activities include:
- Current concepts on the cause of AS.
- Update on the medical treatment of AS.
- Information non-pharmacologic treatment of AS.
- Ask the experts.
Contact Maria Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-603-5800, or complete the registration form, which can be found below. The registration form is also available at www.sparccc.ca and www.spondylitis.ca.
2014 Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient Forum
Ten big drug companies have joined together with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate the discovery of new medicines for diseases like alzheimers, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The project is called the Accelerating Medicines Partnership. Under the five-year agreement, the companies will be sharing scientists, tissue and blood samples, and data. The underlying goal is to help identify targets for new drugs. Continue reading
Criteria for denosumab (Prolia®) for osteoporosis and tocilizumab (Actemra®) for rheumatoid arthritis updated.
The Yukon recently added two medications to its Drug Formulary: denosumab (Prolia®) for osteoporosis and tocilizumab (Actemra®) for rheumatoid arthritis. Both medications are considered an Exception drug under the Pharmacare (seniors plan) and the Chronic Disease Program, which requires an application for the Formulary Working Group to assess. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of sscreations at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I remember an experience I had many years ago as I made the rounds to various doctors trying to find out why I suffered from crippling pain. A neurologist recommended that a shot of cortisone in my spine could be the miraculous cure to put me out of my misery.
Cortisone earned a reputation as a miracle drug when it was first successfully used in 1948 at the Mayo Clinic to treat a rheumatoid arthritis patient whose crippling joints were unfrozen by the drug. Its label as a miracle medication earned its pioneers the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Cortisone may help relieve pain and is commonly given in joints, but there are limits on the frequency of its usage due to adverse side effects, so physicians have to carefully weigh the benefits against the risks.
I gamely agreed to the cortisone injection (at the time, I would have agreed to just about anything) and I received a shot in my lower back after an epidural to deaden my extremities. When the anesthesia wore off, I arose from the bed where I had been for about an hour. The pain was still there, but I was told that there would be a delay of up to a couple of days between the time the injection was administered and when I would start to feel some relief. Needless to say, no solace came and I soldiered on. Several years later, an orthopedic surgeon suggested I undergo cortisone shots in my back for a second time. I still did not have a positive diagnosis for my ankylosing spondylitis (AS), so throwing caution to the wind, I grasped at the carrot. This cortisone shot also did not produce any results, in fact, the pain seemed to worsen and I swore that I would never go that route again (never say never?).
Years later, when the plantar fasciitis in my heel continued over several months with no relief in sight, a podiatrist suggested I consider cortisone injections. With her reassurances that she expected a good outcome, I again took the bait. Good news! The shots worked and the pain disappeared within a few weeks. Another recent flare-up has me thinking—again—that perhaps I should opt for cortisone to get rid of the heel pain (stay tuned).
I have repeatedly questioned my rheumy about the osteoarthritis in my thumbs and the available options to ease that problem. During my last visit, he casually mentioned the possibility of cortisone shots in the base of my thumbs, but he quickly added that any relief would only be temporary and the injections would be quite “uncomfortable.” His lack of confidence sealed the deal for me: no thanks!
Today, cortisone (and its sister prednisone) is used to lessen the symptoms during acute AS flares. For many AS patients, cortisone truly is a miracle drug. Sometimes this option may be a last ditch attempt to gain relief, but for myself, I did not achieve anything near miraculous. Rather, I will just keep hoping for a miracle cure for AS. ~Fran
Have you ever taken cortisone (or prednisone) shots for your AS? Did it have a positive effect?
Health Canada recently approved adalimumab (Humira®) to treat adults with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) who are unresponsive to conventional therapy.
Adalimumab is currently approved in Canada for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), Crohn’s disease (CD), and psoriasis (Ps) in adults. Adalimumab has also been approved to treat polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA) in children aged 4 to 17 years and Crohn’s disease in children aged 13 to 17 years. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of Renjith Krishnan of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I recently blogged about my decision to take the annual flu vaccine and why I choose to go this route rather than play the odds of contracting this nasty virus. Making the decision is a no-brainer for me because a few years ago I got the flu and after the horrible full-blown symptoms had disappeared within a couple of weeks, I dragged around for another six weeks before I felt well again. Continue reading