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Many Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Not Getting Recommended Drugs

Posted Feb 01 2011 6:16pm

Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling disease that causes pain, swelling and eats away at the joints, aren’t receiving the much-needed, low-cost medications that can prevent deformity.

Despite medical guidelines recommending that patients receive early and aggressive treatment for rheumatoid arthritis with these medications, only 63 percent of Medicare-managed care patients diagnosed with the disease received any amount of the prescription drugs, according to a new study led by a researcher from the Stanford University School of Medicine published Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Among patients with a true diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, closer to 90 percent should be receiving treatment,” said Gabriela Schmajuk, MD, a postdoctoral scholar in the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology and lead author of the study. The study’s senior author is Jinoos Yazdany, MD, MPH, adjunct assistant professor of rheumatology at the University of California-San Francisco.

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