Ankylose This! Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Saturday, June 25, 2005

AS in children

Ankylosing spondylitis is frequently overlooked in children, leading to a delayed diagnosis that can have serious long-term consequences, the Spondylitis Association of America reports (PDF; also reprinted here), citing a study they commissioned and that was published this month: "In addition to a delay in diagnosis, the researchers report that adults with childhood onset disease experience more serious physical deformity and work-related disability than those who develop the disease as adults."

I had been given to understand that the younger you came down with AS, the more severe your case was likely to be; is a lack of early detection an aggravating factor?

Arcoxia better than naproxen?

A recent, year-long study concluded that Arcoxia (etoricoxib), a COX-2 inhibitor, was more effective than naproxen in treating ankylosing spondylitis (via SAA). As a naproxen user, you have my attention. But in the wake of all the brouhaha regarding COX-2s, Arcoxia has yet to receive FDA approval; the agency wants more data from Merck before it will consider the drug.

The Ottawa Sun on Enbrel and AS

For Richard and me this is our local, um, tabloid: the Ottawa Sun has a story on ankylosing spondylitis, and a local woman, Glora Bertolissi, whose severe case of AS resisted all treatments until Enbrel (infliximab) came along. "Within a month of taking Enbrel, Bertolissi's energy increased and her pain decreased. Today, she can't say enough about the intravenous drug she credits with giving her back her life."

Friday, June 10, 2005

TNF-alpha in the Times

Dr. Thomas Stuttaford, writing in The Times, is extremely enthusiastic about TNF-α inhibitors for treating rheumatic conditions: "compared with current treatment, [this] is like the hydrogen bomb instead of the wartime 1,000-lb high-explosive bomb. . . . There is a whole group of these new drugs. I have seen more patients treated by Remicade (infliximab) than the others and in these patients the results have been astounding, their lives transformed."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Health Canada's COX-2 forum started today

Last month I mentioned Health Canada's two-day public forum on COX-2 inhibitors. I didn't go -- I'm in the middle of moving -- but the CBC has fairly in-depth coverage.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Anti-TNFα treatments inaccessible for many in Britain

Anti-TNFα treatments may provide significant relief to people suffering from rheumatic conditions like ours, but some patients in the UK aren't getting access to them, the BBC and the Guardian report. A survey of rheumatology units found that 31 per cent of doctors weren't able to prescribe biologics for rheumatoid arthritis patients, 53 per cent couldn't prescribe them for psoriatic arthritis patients, and 58 per cent couldn't for ankylosing spondylitis patients. Half cited cost as the problem, which the British Health Minister says is not an excuse.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Continuous NSAID use

Taking NSAIDs may not just be to reduce inflammation to keep us mobile; it may actually have an effect on the disease itself. European researchers report (press release) that in ankylosing spondylitis patients who took NSAIDs continuously (rather than when needed to treat pain and inflammation), the progression of the disease itself was slowed.