Arthritis can be a thoroughly debilitating condition which causes huge amounts of pain for its sufferers. Most drug treatments for conditions such as osteoarthritis often involve using anti-inflammatory painkillers and cortisone injections. However, a new drug trial is giving hope to thousands of people.
Susan Dawson has osteoarthritis in all her joints and didn’t respond to normal treatments. As such, she agreed to take part in a six month trial of a new drug study being run by Arthritis Research UK and the University of Leeds. After three months pain and swelling in her knees had reduced dramatically and she was able to walk without a stick. "I couldn't believe it," she says. "The drug made a huge difference. I was very grateful, as I'd been in so much pain."
The drug Susan was given was methotrexate - a chemotherapy drug which is also licensed for treating rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that affects around 400,000 people in the UK, causing inflammation of the joints. She improved so much that she was given permission to continue taking the drug after the trial had finished. She was given three-monthly blood tests to check for possible major side-effects such as liver damage. Professor Conaghan who led the trial explains:
“Changes in liver function tests are seen in about 10 percent of people taking methotrexate. These changes are reversible, but we routinely monitor the blood readings and reduce or stop the drug if we see any changes. Liver damage is extremely rare. One of the advantages of methotrexate is that we know there are a large number of people being treated for rheumatoid arthritis who have been able to stay on it for years.”
Any medical advancement that could help ease the suffering of people is a good thing. Many arthritis sufferers struggle to get a good night’s sleep because of the pain that their joints are in. Fortunately, there are Adjustamatic beds available which are designed to help provide maximum mobility and support to the people who use them. Adjustable beds for the elderly are particularly useful as it means that they don’t have to struggle quite so much to get themselves out of bed in the morning. Taking the right drugs along with making the necessary lifestyle changes can help ease the painful impact of diseases such as arthritis.
Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, which is funding the research, said of the trial results: “Many people with osteoarthritis complain their joints are swollen and tender, suggesting there is inflammation which is damaging the joint. Stopping that inflammation early could halt the continuing damage many patients suffer.”
Anyone wanting to find out more about the drugs trial should contact their local GP in the first instance. If you are interested in having a more detailed look at adjustable beds, it is worth talking to a specialist sales company who will have all the information that you need. Don’t let arthritis ruin your life and take positive action.