Ankylose This! Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Friday, April 29, 2005

Ankylosing spondylitis and employment

A German study on arthritic conditions and employment has some interesting things to say about ankylosing spondylitis. While in general people with arthritic conditions have lower employment rates than the general public, those of us with AS seem to do as well or even better than normal.

On the other hand, men and women with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), which primarily affects the spine, or arthritis related to the skin disease psoriasis were more likely to be on the job. Their employment rates were 6 to 8 percent lower than the average for the German population, researchers report in the April issue of the Journal of Rheumatology.

One researcher says it's because the effects are less severe. In general, arthritis sufferers are portrayed as highly motivated to work. Over time, though, our employability worsens: the longer we suffer, the less likely we're working. From the article:

Across the various rheumatic diseases, the odds of unemployment also depended on the duration of a person's disease. For example, people who had had AS for less than 10 years had an employment rate comparable to the norm, while those who'd had the disease for a longer period had a job rate that was 9 to 12 percent lower than average.

The usual socio-economic factors play a role as well.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Here we go again -- First Vioxx, now Bextra

I was switched from Indocin and Asulfidine to Vioxx a few years back because I had a hint of liver damage. When Vioxx blew up last fall, I was switched to Bextra. Now, the
FDA wants Pfizer to take Bextra off the market. I haven't had serious heart problems, but then most of my other risk factors are low (I am 48 now, so that is not so good.) Wonder what's next....

Monday, April 04, 2005

TNF-alpha blockers and skin conditions

There ain't no such thing as a pharmaceutical free lunch: TNF-alpha blockers (think Remicade and Enbrel) triggered skin conditions in one-quarter of the patients in a clinical study of rheumatoid arthritis patients taking the drugs -- everything from eczema to skin cancer.