New Twist on Prednisone for RA
Rheumatoid Arthritis Study: New Prednisone Pill, Taken at Night, Eases Morning Joint Stiffness
WebMD News Archive
Jan. 17, 2008 --
Rheumatoid arthritis researchers have created a new steroid pill that works
overnight to ease morning joint stiffness.
arthritis patients take the pill at night. The pill releases its
prednisone four hours later, in time to curb morning joint stiffness.
The new prednisone pill works better than the traditional
formulation at reducing morning joint stiffness, a new study shows.
The study included 288 adult rheumatoid arthritis patients in Germany and
Poland. Half of them got the new prednisone pill. The other patients got
traditional prednisone, which works immediately.
The patients kept daily diaries about their joint
pain during the 12-week study. In those diaries, patients reported less
morning joint stiffness within two weeks of starting to take the new prednisone
Side effects were similar for patients taking either type
The researchers -- who included rheumatology professor Frank Buttgereit, MD,
of Germany's Charite University Medicine Berlin -- report the results in
tomorrow's edition of The Lancet.
The findings are "clearly relevant," but longer studies are needed
to see if the new prednisone pill maintains its effectiveness beyond three
months, says an editorial published with the study.
The new formulation may also prove useful in treating other conditions, say
the editorialists, including Johannes Bijlsma, MD, PhD, of the rheumatology and
clinical immunology department of Utrecht Medical Center in the
Buttgereit's study was funded by a German branch of the drug company Merck.
Buttgereit and colleagues note financial ties to various drug companies
including Merck. Editorialist Bijlsma has served as a consultant to Nitec, the
Swiss company developing the new prednisone pill.
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