People living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are twice as likely as the rest of the population to feel depressed. An important thing to understand is that it is NOT your fault you are depressed, therefore, YOU are not making your RA worse. It is natural to feel anxious or sad as a result of the diagnosis and to be depressed as a symptom of the disease. Instead, realise that it just demonstrates that rheumatoid arthritis is a complex condition that may require multiple levels of treatment; and, that an important strategy for reducing the pain of arthritis is treating your depression. Two approaches can be used, non-pharmacological and pharmacological, together or individually.
Separate from improving mood, antidepressants have been shown to reduce pain in many different chronic conditions, including arthritis, and they work even when depression is not a factor. How these drugs work to reduce pain is not fully understood, but may have to do with improving sleep, relaxing muscles, or increasing neurotransmitters in the spinal cord that are responsible for lessening pain signals.
Please consult your doctor to discuss your treatment options.
There are many strategies you can try, which you may find useful for helping you to avoid or alleviate depression without using drugs. No matter what suggestions you decide will work best for you, we recommend you speak with your doctor or therapist before getting started: Continue reading →
An arthritis ‘pacemaker’ is on the horizon. The device is a tiny electronic implant fitted under the skin near the collarbone. It works by sending electrical pulses to the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated by the electric pulse, it sends a signal from the brain to key organs such as the spleen and triggers a decrease in the production of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that help regulate the immune system and can cause inflammation in joints.
The arthritis ‘pacemaker’ is currently being tested in the Netherlands with people who live with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Scientists found that the use of electrical pulse can have a similar positive effect on RA without the side effects of medications. The medical device should be available in the United Kingdom by 2020. A patient who took part in the pilot study said: “I have my life back, like before I got arthritis.”
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Clare Jacklin of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society cautions: “The disease is different in different people. This new device may well be impactful for some patients dependent on their disease profile.”
Last October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Otrexup, a single-dose auto-injector containing methotrexate (MTX) to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriasis in adults, and polyarticular idiopathic arthritis (pJIA) in children. Otrexup is taken once a week via self-administration with an easy-to-use, single dose, and disposable auto injector. Antares Pharma have announced the availability of Otrexup in their company.
When asked for his thoughts on Otrexup, Seth Ginsberg, President and Co-founder of CreakyJoints, said: “CreakyJoints welcomes new treatment options for patients with RA. Because so many RA patients have limited manual dexterity, conventional syringes for injection of methotrexate with a pre-filled auto-injector is an important edition to treatment options available because it expands RA patients’ access to care.” Continue reading →
BC PharmaCare is looking for your input on golimumab for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Golimumab (Simponi®) is now being considered for coverage under the British Columbia Ministry of Health’s PharmaCare program. By filling out a questionnaire on a website called Your Voice, you can provide feedback about golimumab (Simponi®) for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC).
You can give input if you are:
A B.C. resident and have ulcerative colitis
A caregiver to someone with UC
If your group represents people who live with UC
The input is reviewed by the Drug Benefit Council, which then gives recommendations on whether a medication should be covered, and how, by BC PharmaCare. BC PharmaCare then makes a decision based on those recommendations and available resources. Policies and plans already in place also factor in the decision making process.
It is an opportunity for you to share your perspectives on medication decisions that affect you or someone you provide care for.
Please click here to let BC PharmaCare hear Your Voice. Or, go to the following links:
To view the information sheet for golimumab: click here
For the Patient Group Questionnaire: click here (Patient groups are required to register their name with the Ministry of Health before making their submission.)
Your input as a patient, caregiver, and/or patient group is essential to a full and fair review of the medication.
The submission deadline is midnight on January 16, 2014. Patients and caregivers may give their input directly though the links above. Alternatively, you can email us your input at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 604-974-1366. We can send it as a patient group on your behalf. Please provide your input to us by Wednesday, January 15 so that we may submit the questionnaire in time for the deadline.
Golimumab is a human monoclonal antibody to TNF alpha. Health Canada has approved golimumab for use in combination with methotrexate to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.
In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved golimumab for the treatment of moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) in adult patients. The symptoms of UC have a strong association with seronegative spondylarthropathies, which include diseases such as psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Last year, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) encouraged community members with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to participate in a physical activity study with the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC). To show support for our community, Cheryl Koehn, President and Founder of ACE was amongst the first to sign up!
The study asked participants to use two different activity trackers over a 4-week period. The first tracker is called the FitBitTM Flex, a wrist-worn activity monitor that measures an individual’s physical activity. The tracker allows users to create personalized fitness goals and integrate their goals with social media such as Facebook, Twitter and email. The second tracker is called the BodyMedia SenseWear™ Mini Armband and wore for only two weeks in the study. It is worn on the upper arm and tracks each participant’s exercise, work and sleep patterns. Both devices are similar to the Nike+ FuelBand.
In this update, Cheryl shares an interesting element of her FitBit experience with us. One interesting observation to note is that the FitBit does not measure your workout on a stationery bicycle or the physical energy exerted in your strokes while you swim. The FitBit measures the physical steps you take. Cheryl accomplished the most steps while walking her dog and walking from destination A to destination B during her business trips.
For those of you who are thinking of getting back in shape from the holiday season, consider getting yourself one of the physical activity tracker above to ensure you meet your exercise goals.
How do you plan to maintain an active lifestyle in the new year?
A poster session at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology reports that the rate of disease activity at 6 months and 1 year affects rheumatoid arthritis outcome. People who do not achieve early remission at these two time points are twice as likely to develop radiographic progression.
Bernard Combe, MD, PhD of Montpellier University in France, and his colleagues reviewed a study called ESPOIR cohort study and found 5-year outcomes for 573 patients. According to MedPage, the findings are as follow: Continue reading →
Certolizumab Pegol (Cimzia®) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has newly been listed for coverage on Manitoba’s drug formulary.
As of October 17th, certolizumab pegol (Cimzia®) for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis has been listed for coverage on Manitoba’s drug formulary. Click here to view the detailed medication criteria.
Now there are more treatment options available in Manitoba, which is important because every patient responds differently to disease suppressing or modifying medications.
Certolizumab pegol is an anti-TNF medication taken by subcutaneous injection every two weeks. Request for coverage must be made by a physician who is a specialist in rheumatology.
To learn if certolizumab pegol or other rheumatoid arthritis treatment may be helpful to you, please speak to your rheumatologist or other healthcare provider who is helping you to manage your disease.
Click here to view the most up-to-date version of ACE’s Report Card on provincial formulary reimbursement listings for biologic response modifiers.
Australian researchers found that a decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) of the hands helps determine whether a patient’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA) will worsen. Patients who were receiving therapy for early RA who experience hand BMD loss at 6 months had increased erosion scores at 12 months, compared with patients who had no bone loss.
Patients already living with BMD loss at 6 months had higher increases in erosion scores, indicating worsening RA. One researcher said, “Safe and cost-effective measures are needed to guide decision-making with regard to dose-escalation of DMARDs and possible introduction of biologic therapy in these patients.”
The findings from the research conclude that BMD loss, together with age, was correlated with increased susceptibility to erosive disease. Further study needs to be conducted on the topic as this particular study contains a small number of patients and only a brief follow-up after the end of the study.
Health Canada issues “dear doctor” letter about rituximab
Health Canada is responsible for ensuring that medications approved for use in Canada are safe and effective for Canadians who need to take them. It is their responsibility to receive reports about medication side effects from the public, medical community, and the manufacturers who make medications. They inform the medical community and the public about side effects through “dear doctor” letters. Continue reading →