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Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms Reportedly Less Severe

Posted Oct 23 2008 2:24pm
Scientists have some good news for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers: The disease is becoming milder, with less severe symptoms and less functional disability compared to that experienced by arthritis patients in the past.

The exact reasons for the decline in rheumatoid arthritis severity remains unclear, Dutch researchers say, but may stem from the more aggressive drug therapies that are now available to patients.

Reporting in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, researchers reviewed the cases of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers treated by the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre since 1985.

"Patients with early rheumatoid arthritis presenting in recent years have less severe disease activity at presentation, as well as a more favorable course of their disease, compared with patients in earlier years," lead researcher Paco Welsing said in a prepared statement.

His team found a correlation between more aggressive treatment strategies and less severe symptoms among more recent groups of patients. These included the use of early treatment with the drugs methotrexate or prednisone to manage both the symptoms and destructive progression of arthritis.
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