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Senior Health Week: Arthritis
Health News You Can Use •

Arthritis News:

Remicade Provides Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief in As Little As 48 Hours

Remicade provides relief in as quickly as 48 hours for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and also could substantially reduce treatment time for some patients, according to results of a study appearing in the Journal of Rheumatology.

"These findings are encouraging because they suggest that patients may improve rapidly in response to Remicade," said Dr. William J. Shergy, the principal investigator.

"In addition, the possibility of being able to offer a one-hour Remicade infusion to patients who tolerated their initial two-hour treatments may (also reduce) infusion time for some patients to as little as six hours a year."

In an open-label study, researchers evaluated 553 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis at 79 centers across the United States, where they received Remicade (3 mg) over a 14-week period. All patients continued receiving stable doses of methotrexate, as well.

At selected sites, patients who tolerated the first four infusions were eligible to receive two additional infusions at twice the usual rate, allowing researchers to evaluate the safety of reducing infusion time from two hours -- the current recommended infusion time -- to one hour.

Otherwise, infusions were delivered over a two-hour period, with all follow-up assessments conducted after 48 hours, and weeks one, two, six, 14 and 16.

Forty-eight hours after the first treatment, patients achieved a 34 percent improvement in morning stiffness, a 30 percent improvement in pain, a 30 percent improvement in physician's assessment scores, and 25 percent improvement in patient assessment scores.

By the 16th week, patients -- regardless of infusion time -- experienced a 52 to 63 percent overall improvement.

Source: Arthritis Week of April 14, 2002


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