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"The concept of Remission-inducing drugs is fallacious"

"The concept of Remission-inducing drugs is fallacious"

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

This paper was brought to my attention this weekend.

It's from the Lancet and was published in 1987.

The Lancet, Volume 329, Issue 8542, Pages 1108 - 1111, 16 May 1987 The Lancet, Volume 329, Issue 8542, Pages 1108 - 1111, 16 May 1987

I draw your attention to these results:

  • By 20 years 35% were dead. Mortality was often attributable to RA.
  • Function declined considerably between 10 and 20 years.
  • At 20 years 19% were severely disabled.

The weapons they had available in the fight against rheumatoid arthritis - "gold, chloroquine, steroids, and, in resistant cases, penicillamine or cytotoxic drugs."

Dreadful outcomes.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a bad disease and it's not surprising that in 1987, part of the conclusion was that:

The concept of "remission-inducing" drugs is fallacious.

That's no longer true.

I'm glad things have changed in a big way since the 80s. The knowledge of the disease, the weapons used against it, the strategies we use.

Rheumatoid arthritis can still be a bad disease, but with prompt intervention and the use of appropriate medications, the outcomes are now so much better for us physicians and for our patients.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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