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How Early Should Psoriatic Arthritis be Treated?

Posted Jun 05 2010 7:46pm

A recent review of treatments for Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) found that the benefit of different therapies depended how widespread the disease was.

Psoriatic arthritis is the second most common cause of joint inflammation. It involves the skin and joints, but may also affect fingers and toes, eyes and the spine. The effect on the skin is seen as red, scaly patches on the skin. Erosion of the joints may occur within the first two years in nearly 50% of PsA patients. Furthermore, an erosion rate of 11% per year has been reported.

The researchers found that mild anti-inflammatories were only helpful if the disease was mild or localized. In cases were the joint involvement is more wide spread the more beneficial therapy is with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as methotrexate.

Further, in cases of extra-articular or spinal disease in which DMARDs have not shown significant benefit, biologic therapy (anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor or TNF) may be more effective.

This study suggests that optimal therapy with a combination of biologics and DMARDs may produce remission rates of up to 60%.

Findings of the review were published in the June 1st issue of Current Opinion in Rheumatology.

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