Biologics and Pregnancy
Two studies were presented in February seem to indicate that the use of Enbrel or Humira (both Biologic Response Modifiers) during the first trimester of pregnancy poses no risk for adverse outcome. This isn't definitive as sample sizes were small, but it is encouraging.
Arthritis Pain Processed in Same Part of Brain as Emotions and Fear
Research indicates that arthritis pain is processed by the same part of the brain as fear and emotions. It was a small study (12 patients), but the research could lead to a greater understanding of the disease. This also explains why emotions affect arthritis pain.
Merck Seeks FDA Approval for New COX-2 Inhibitor
Merck is seeking FDA approval for a COX-2 inhibitor, Arcoxia. The drug, if approved, would be one of only two COX-2 inhibitors available on the market. Celebrex is currently the only cOX-2 inhibitor available. COX-2 inhibitors are a type of anti-inflammatory drug, but they are less likely to cause stomach upset than traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although there are cardiovascular risks associated with COX-2 inhibitors, the benefit these drugs give to many living with inflammatory drugs outweighs the risk. I, like many others with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, cannot take traditional NSAIDs due to stomach issues. Although Celebrex does not provide great relief to me, it is better than not taking anything. I, for one, will welcome an additional COX-2 inhibitor as an option for treatment.
Remicade Could be Good for Cholesterol
On the other side of the spectrum, a study published in the December, 2006 issue of The Journal of Rheumatology, has found that a Remicade side effect may reduce cardiovascular disease risk. The researches report that patients receiving treatment with Remicade experienced a "sustained increase" in HDL cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol is known as the "good" cholesterol because a high level of it seems to protect against heart attack.