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Good news in Ontario!

Girl in flight mid airTofacitinib (Xeljanz®) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis approved in Ontario.

As of June 17th, tofacitinib (Xeljanz®) for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis has been listed for coverage on Ontario’s drug formulary.

Tofacitinib is an oral targeted small molecule medicine (TSMM) that was issued a Notice of Compliance (NOC) from Health Canada on April 17, 2014. Tofacitinib in combination with methotrexate (MTX), is indicated for reducing the signs and symptoms of RA, in adult patients with moderately to severely active RA who have had an inadequate response to MTX. In cases of intolerance to MTX, physicians may consider the use of tofacitinib as monotherapy.

Click here to view the most up-to-date version of ACE’s Report Card on provincial formulary reimbursement listings for biologic response modifiers.

Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey battled rheumatoid arthritis

On January 18, Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey died in New York at the age of 67 due to a combination of problems associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia. Frey’s manager, Irving Azoff, said that Frey secretly battled rheumatoid arthritis for more than 15 years before he died.

In the outpouring of mourning for Glenn Frey on Twitter, Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts and a rheumatoid arthritis patient of 25 years, tweeted, “I’m tired of hearing “no one dies of arthritis”. Time for main stream media to recognize our losses. RIP Glenn.”

The band is famous for tracks such as Take It Easy and Hotel California. Despite his secret battle with RA, Frey participated in the Arthritis Foundation’s 2013 Walk to Cure Arthritis Fundraiser. Below is a picture from the Arthritis Foundation’s website of Frey and rheumatologist Dr. Rinaldi from the 2013 event.

Glen Frey with rheumatologist Dr. Rinaldi“Rheumatoid arthritis has taken the life of an incredibly talented musician, whose amazing music will always be part of our lives.” – The Arthritis Foundation Continue reading

JointHealth™ monthly: Innovations in Arthritis Treatment

The JointHealth™ Report Card and Arthritis Medications Guide issue

While there are no cures for arthritis, scientific advances and improved treatments, along with a better understanding of combination medication therapy, are allowing people with arthritis to live healthier, more productive lives. In particular, advances in the area of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic medications (or “DMARDs”) and biologic response modifiers (or “biologics”) have radically changed health outcomes—for the better—of thousands of people living with a number of the more than 100 types of arthritis.

The Report Card and Medicaitons Guide issueTo ensure that all Canadians have access to the medications they need to treat their arthritis, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) created the first JointHealth™ Report Card on Provincial Formulary Reimbursements for Biologic Response Modifiers in 2007. Serving as a way to keep Canadians aware of how well their province compares to the rest of Canada in its cost coverage of medications, the Report Card ranks publicly funded medication formularies based on the number of medically necessary biologic arthritis medications they list.

The Report Card is available online at jointhealth.org and updated monthly. Once a year, it is printed and distributed to JointHealth™ monthly readers and subscribers, elected officials, arthritis specialists and healthcare professionals across Canada.

Inside this issue of JointHealth™ monthly, in addition to the Report Card you will find:

  • A chart listing important information about the medications used to treat arthritis in Canada, called the JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Guide.
  • An interview with Dr. Kam Shojania of the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, in which he tells us about emerging medications for treating the most common forms of inflammatory and autoimmune arthritis.
  • Details of ACE’s campaign to raise awareness about subsequent entry biologics (SEBs) in BC, Alberta, and Ontario.
  • Information about exciting new research that was presented late last year in an annual conference that brings together researchers from around the world.

Pharmacies: finding a role in arthritis detection and management

Sign at Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies that says, "Are you experiencing chronic pain? It may be arthritis."tFact: One in six people over the age of fifteen lives with a form of arthritis.

Fact: Someone going to a pharmacist complaining of joint pain likely has osteoarthritis.

Fact: One of the largest selling classes of prescription medications are for arthritis, with biologic response modifiers (used to treat inflammatory forms) being particularly costly.

For pharmacies, this means that people with arthritis represent a large and important customer base. For provincial health ministries, arthritis is a significant expense.

The need for pharmacists to be educated about arthritis is an important message Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) is communicating to pharmacies and to government healthcare officials. It makes good, economical sense for both to ensure pharmacists have arthritis training. Most importantly, the enhancement will improve health outcomes.

Out of recognition for this need, ACE, the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, and Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix formed a partnership that is providing Canadians with an important opportunity to get screened for the most common types of arthritis and is making a significant difference in the lives of individuals living with the disease and their families.

To learn more about this partnership, please click here.

Two new channels added to Arthritis Broadcast Network

Arthritis Broadcast Network: All your arthritis news and information. All the time.All your arthritis news and information. All the time. Share your story. Join the conversation now!

The month of September marks two milestones for arthritis in Canada: the arrival of Arthritis Awareness Month and the fifth year of the National Arthritis Awareness Program (NAAP). Since its launch, the NAAP has been creating innovative and interactive ways to broadcast the arthritis story. It continues to provide the newest arthritis information, education, programs and tools through the Arthritis Broadcast Network (ABN)—Canada’s leading online source of arthritis news.

This September, the NAAP celebrates the beginning of its fifth year with the introduction of two new exciting channels to the Arthritis Broadcast Network.

Featured ABN channels now include:

  • NAAP: National Arthritis Awareness Program *NEW*
  • Research: Groundbreaking research. Life-changing discoveries. *NEW*
  • News: Arthritis news. Anytime. Anywhere
  • Life: Living your best life with arthritis.
  • Arthritis Intel: Helping you detect, treat, and manage arthritis.
  • A-Team: Partnering with your healthcare team.
  • Women: Exploring women’s arthritis issues and needs.

We hear you. Now let the world hear you.

Join the conversation at the Arthritis Broadcast Network. Share your experience of living with arthritis by sending us your stories, videos and images, and we will share them with the world. Please email us at info@jointhealth.org. And feel free to start a conversation on ABN by commenting on a post that catches your interest.

To find out more about the NAAP, you can go to arthritisbroadcastnetwork.org or visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter or join us on LinkedIn.

Attention students who live with inflammatory arthritis!

School notebooks

Are you a student?

Do you live with inflammatory arthritis?

If so, you may be eligible for a UCB Canada Inc. scholarship of up to $5,000, but there are just 12 days left to apply.

Now in its seventh year, the UCBeyond 2013 Scholarship Program is offering one-time scholarships of up to $5,000 CAN for students diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis, who are enrolled in or awaiting acceptance from a Canadian-based institution of higher education (e.g. university, college, or trade school) for the fall semester of the 2013 school year.

The winners must demonstrate academic ambition and embrace a way of life that goes above and beyond the boundaries of living with inflammatory arthritis.

The deadline to apply is June 30, 2013. Don’t miss out.

Please click here for more information.