Current dosage for arthritis too weak to be effective

November 11th, 2008 - 12:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Nov 11(IANS) Current dosage for treating rheumatoid arthritis might be too weak to slow down or halt joint damage.Otago University researchers found that methotrexate, prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, takes longer than thought for the drug to reach steady blood levels.

“At this stage it looks as though larger doses, or possibly administration by injection, may lead to more rapid accumulation in the blood and potentially earlier disease control,” said rheumatologist Lisa Stamp of Otago.

Patients experience constant pain and are even crippled by the disease because of joint damage. Methotrexate, normally taken orally, binds to and inhibits several important enzymes, limiting or controlling joint inflammation and subsequent damage.

Dosing starts at low levels, based on ‘response to treatment’, with increasing amounts until the disease is controlled. But valuable time may be lost with this method, resulting in unnecessary joint damage, according to an Otago release.

The study has been published in the November issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism.

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