July 15, 2008

Yorkshire Arthritis Patients Take Part in Drug Trial

PATIENTS newly diagnosed with a painful arthritic condition in Yorkshire are taking part in a new trial to investigate if they need early aggressive drug treatment.

More than 100 people with psoriatic arthritis being treated in Leeds will be involved in the study to find out if early drug therapy is better than existing treatments.

The condition, which causes arthritis and the skin complaint psoriasis, is the the second most common form of inflammatory arthritis, after rheumatoid arthritis, but research into the illness has lagged behind. Patients will be split into two groups as part of the Pounds 135,000 study funded by the Chesterfield-based Arthritis Research Campaign.

They will be given standard treatments or drug therapy in rapidly increasing doses before scans are taken to compare levels of inflammation and joint damage. The results will influence treatments of patients around the country.

Laura Coates, of Leeds University's academic unit of musculoskeletal disease at Chapel Allerton Hospital in Leeds, who is heading the research, said studies on patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed that intensive treatment led to less inflammation, joint damage and a better quality of life.

"Treating people with psoriatic arthritis with more intensive therapies to ensure that the level of inflammation is minimised could similarly reduce the joint damage and prevent disability," she said.

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