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VARIATIONS ON THERAPY MAY EASE ARTHRITIS PAIN

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Some good news for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers: Variations on already widely used therapy can bring extra relief.

In one study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Arizona and Ottawa report that patients with severe symptoms who had only partial relief from methotrexate did much better when the therapy was combined with another slow-acting arthritis drug, cyclosporine.In a second study in the journal, British scientists report that low doses of prednisolone, a steroid, in combination with other treatments appears to safely stem the progression of disease in patients with early arthritis. That means a more aggressive approach to treating early disease may make sense.

An accompanying editorial notes that new drugs have improved treatment over the past decade and that these studies "suggest that changing the timing of treatments and combining potent medications may lead to still more improvement."

- Dolores Kong