Dear ACE community members,
I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for over a quarter century now, and I’m sick of it.
Canadians living with one of over 100 types of arthritis are told to understand that what they have is “just arthritis.” They are frustrated by the self-management routine they are supposed to be “in charge of” because they don’t have access to the very things they are supposed to self-manage with. They’re discouraged to read about other important diseases in the media spotlight, but not their own. They’re saddened that yet another Arthritis Month in Canada has begun without a cure for any type of arthritis. That’s how I feel, too. What about you?
Our community continues to face significant barriers to elevating arthritis with the public, governments and workplaces across the country where the havoc wreaked by the diseases is still underestimated and poorly understood.
Well, I’ve had enough. We can’t passively accept arthritis. It maims and kills, but people seem afraid to say that. I’m going to start saying it in my life and in my work.
I am rheumatoid arthritis. Who are you?
We need to break through the sound barrier. Please take a moment and tell me, tell your arthritis sisters and brothers, who you are. I want to know. Make millions know.
Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
According to a new study, mental health problems like anxiety and depression may explain why people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the study, anger, anxiety, depressive symptoms, job stress and low social support was linked to increasing risk of hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis for people with RA.
In the study, Dr. Jon T. Giles of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and team compared 195 patients with RA and no history of heart problems to more than 1,000 similar adults without arthritis. Study participants with RA had more depressive symptoms, higher personal (such as caring for a loved one) and health stress, higher job stress and lower relationship stress. These listed psychosocial problems, on top of higher anxiety scores and anger scores, were associated with increased odds of coronary artery calcium. Furthermore, job stress increased the risk of plaque in the carotid artery in the neck, which helps supply blood to the brain. In the comparison group, there was no relation between the aforementioned psychosocial factors and artery calcium. Continue reading
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A recent study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine suggests that positive attitude is linked to fewer rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms. In the study, the RA patients who reported more positive mood moments during the day had less pain and fewer arthritis-related complications than those who reported greater depressive symptoms. This is the first study to measure mood throughout the day (previous studies linked end-of-day mood to increased/decreased pain among arthritis patients).
People living with RA are twice as likely as the rest of the population to experience depression. There are several reasons depression occurs in people with RA. Sometimes it starts from the shock of diagnosis and finding out that it is an unpredictable disease that can become more painful and debilitating over time. Sometimes depression occurs because of feeling tired and unwell or isolated as a result of the disease. RA can affect the ability to work, look after family, and engage in social activities and interests. The stress that results from either of these situations can trigger depression in those who are predisposed by heredity or other factors. Click here to learn more about depression and arthritis. Continue reading
Good news in Quebec!
Tofacitinib (Xeljanz®) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis approved in Quebec.
As of June 1st, tofacitinib (Xeljanz®) for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis has been listed for coverage on Quebec’s drug formulary. Click here to view the detailed medication criteria.
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.
A recent study published in the journal Rheumatology found that 40% of patients scored low in an adherence questionnaire at least once during the course of the study. The study was conducted by researchers from the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology at The University of Manchester. They studied 392 rheumatoid arthritis patients who started taking the biological therapy adalimumab (Humira®) during the year 2007-2009.
Professor Ian Bruce, senior author and director of the NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, said: “This is one of the first studies to assess biological adherence in rheumatoid arthritis patients over time. In the era of new and effective high-cost drugs, there is the assumption that people with rheumatoid arthritis regularly take their medication as prescribed, but our findings challenge this assumption. We have shown that health professionals should not assume that because biologics are effective and expensive that all patients will take these as prescribed.” Continue reading
Common Drug Review recommendation for tofacitinib (Xeljanz®)
Good news for Canadians living with rheumatoid arthritis
On April 21, 2015, the Common Drug Review concluded its review of tofacitinib (Xeljanz®) and recommended to public formularies that it be listed for reimbursement in combination with methotrexate (MTX), for reducing the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adult patients with moderately to severely active RA or as a monotherapy in those who were intolerant to MTX. Click here to read the complete Common Drug Review recommendations. Continue reading