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Drug Combo Best for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Combination Treatment Works Best for Preventing Future Complications

Patients With Best Results continued...

"Patients in groups 3 and 4 had the benefit of a more rapid relief of symptoms and improvement of physical function," says researcher B. A. C. Dijkmans, MD, of VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in a news release. "In addition, there is the possibility that effective suppression of disease activity during the early phases of the disease may ameliorate the long-term joint damage and poor physical function and, ideally, even induce true clinical remission without the need for ongoing DMARD treatment."

The number of rheumatoid arthritis patients in these two groups without any progression of their disease was also higher than in the other two groups.

Overall, researchers say people who received initial combination rheumatoid arthritis treatment experienced no more side effects than the other groups.

Methotrexate can cause severe toxicity to the liver and bone marrow. Regular monitoring of blood counts and liver enzymes is standard during treatment. Methotrexate can also produce injury to the lungs and the GI tract. Pregnant women and those that are planning on being pregnant should not take this medication.

Remicade use has been associated with severe liver injury, decreased blood counts, and development of lymphoma (a kind of cancer). It should not be used if you are suffering from certain other medical conditions.

Both medications have immune-suppressing activity which can make a person more susceptible to infections, particularly opportunistic infections that can be fatal.

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