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By Rosemary Frei, MSc The diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is challenging, because of the heterogeneous nature of this disease. Early disease is especially challenging because patients often present with severe but uncharacteristic features. A team of rheumatologists has created a diagnostic algorithm based on the differential diagnosis of SLE (Bertsias GK, et al. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013 July 9 [Epub ahead of print]).
Corticosteroids associated with most side effects, patient dissatisfaction By Rosemary Frei, MSc An independent survey conducted in 2012 and recently published of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and their physicians confirms the significant burden SLE confers on patients in quality of life and work productivity and the limitations of currently available drug regimens in relieving the considerable impairment (Strand V, et al. Lupus. 2013;22:819-826). Despite the limitations of the treatment regimens in controlling disease activity, patients and physicians reported overall satisfaction with current treatment regimens.
Biologics now seen safer than previously thought By Phoebe Starr Madrid, Spain—The 2013 European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) guidelines for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were released for the first time at the 2013 EULAR annual meeting by Josef S. Smolen, MD, Head, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, and Head, Second Medical Department, Hietzing Hospital, Vienna, Austria. Dr Smolen was quick to point out that the 2013 version is not writ in stone and will not be until it is published later this year.
Successful interventions provided by rheumatology nurses By Alice Goodman Madrid, Spain—Two companion studies reported at the 2013 annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) show that nurse-led programs can improve the management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Physician extender programs such as these can potentially be resource-saving and cost-saving.
A new treatment strategy with a novel IL-17 receptor inhibitor By Phoebe Starr Madrid, Spain—Data from a phase 2 trial for a novel interleukin (IL)-17 inhibitor, called brodalumab, suggest that it may become a new option for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. Brodalumab was effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis at week 12, and responses were further improved at week 24.
By Rosemary Frei, MSc There are finally some bright prospects in the search for accurate tools to diagnose patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to monitor the effects of treatment on the disease, according to the authors of a recent review article (Liu CC, et al. Biomarkers in systemic lupus erythematosus: challenges and prospects for the future. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2013;5:210-233).
The American Nurses Association (ANA) together with the Rheumatology Nurses Society issued a new guide to contemporary rheumatology nursing titled “Rheumatology Nursing,” which follows the establishment last year of rheumatology nursing as a new nursing specialty.
Early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is particularly important for initiating early treatment and preventing joint damage in patients with RA. Researchers have recently discovered that the 14-3-3η protein can detect early inflammatory processes indicative of RA. “14-3-3η is a protein involved in many intracellular functions from cell proliferation to regulating the intracellular communication networks that are involved in various inflammatory processes relevant to rheumatoid arthritis,” according to Walter P. Maksymowych, MD, Consultant Rheumatologist and Professor of Medicine, University of Alberta, Canada.
Elevated levels of the biomarker β2 microglobulin (β2MG), a polypeptide found in saliva and serum, combined with sodium may be a new way to diagnose patients with Sjögren syndrome, according to a new study from Japan.
Results of a new study reported at EULAR 2013 indicate that replacing mycophenolate mofetil with the immunosuppressant drug azathioprine 6 weeks before conception in women with inactive lupus nephritis is safe and does not increase their risk for renal flares. Mycophenolate mofetil is often used in this patient population during pregnancy to protect the fetus.
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