What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of chronic arthritis of the spine and the sacroiliac joints (in the pelvis). The inflammation of the vertebrae (spondylitis) can eventually lead to the fusion of the vertebrae – they cement together (ankylosis). This type of chronic arthritis affects the bones, muscles and ligaments…

What Is Humira (adalimumab)

Editor’s Choice
Main Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology
Also Included In: Crohn’s / IBD;  Eczema / Psoriasis;  Immune System / Vaccines
Article Date: 24 Jul 2012 – 0:00 PDT

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Humira (adalimumab) is a TNF inhibitor approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, chronic plaque psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Humira is used for pain relief and to reduce inflammation in a number of autoimmune diseases.

Humira belongs to a class of drugs called biologics. Biologics are therapies based on proteins – usually antibodies – which have been developed with DNA technology (genetic engineering). Humira is a fully human monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are types of proteins that identify and bind to specific proteins.

TNFα and autoimmune diseases

Experts are still not completely sure what causes autoimmune diseases. However, studies have shown that TNFα (Necrosis Factor Alpha) is a major contributor to inflammation in autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. TNFα triggers inflammation when the body’s immune system goes into action.

Excess TNFα can attack healthy tissue and cause inflammation.

Humira binds to TNFα, blocking its inflammatory effect, resulting in less pain and inflammation for patients with autoimmune diseases.

The word HUMIRA stands for HUman Monoclonal Antibody In Rheumatoid Arthritis. It can be injected with a syringe or a preloaded pen device (Humira Pen) subcutaneously, usually by the patient at home. As the human’s digestive system would destroy the active ingredient, it cannot be taken orally.

How quickly does Humira work?

Patients respond at different speeds to Humira’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Some start to experience benefits from day one, while others may take from two to three months.

It is vital that the patient adheres to the treatment plan for best results.

Autoimmune diseases are not curable, but some of the symptoms, such as pain and inflammation can be controlled with medications. Humira is a long-term treatment. Those who stop taking their meds are most likely to have overactive immune systems again.

Who benefits from taking Humira?

Humira has been proven in clinical trials to be effective for patients with the following auto-immune diseases (it is has also been approved for these diseases):

  • Active ankylosing spondylitis – chronic inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joints. The patient feels pain and stiffness in and around the area of the spine. Eventually the chronic inflammation can lead to complete fusion of the vertebrae (ankylosis). Ankylosing spondylitis is sometimes present in people with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative and Crohn’s colitis) and psoriasis.

    A 2008 Phase III clinical trial (ATLAS) demonstrated that Humira reduced the signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis for up to 36 months in 74% of patients.

  • Moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis – approximately 80% of psoriasis patients have this type. The patient has well-defined patches of red raised skin, usually on the trunk, scalp, elbows, knees and nails, but they can appear anywhere on the skin. Scale builds up on top of the plaques. People with psoriasis have very dry skin, which can itch, crack and be painful.

    A study conducted by Decision Resources in April 2010, found that Humira overtook Enbrel as the most efficacious medication for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis.

  • Moderate to severe Crohn’s disease – a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Any part of the gut can be affected, from the mouth to the anus. In most cases the ileum (lower part of the small intestine) is affected. Patients feel pain and often find their condition makes the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.

    Two studies (CHARM and GAIN) showed that Humira helped moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease patients achieve long-term remission and a full clinical response.

  • Moderate to severe juvenile idiopathic arthritis – an inflammation of one or more joints that starts in childhood. Pain is an important symptom, which often improves during the day.
  • Moderate to severely active psoriatic arthritis – joint inflammation which affects about 1 in every 10 psoriasis patients.
  • Moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis – often referred to as rheumatoid disease. It is a chronic, progressive and disabling autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in the joints, as well as tissue around the joints, and other organs.

    Rheumatologists’ preferred medications for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis were found to be Humira and Enbrel, according to a study carried out by Decision Resources.

Important information regarding Humira

Patients should not take Humira if they are allergic to any medication containing adalimumab or Mannitol, sodium citrate, monobasic sodium phosphate dehydrate, sodium chloride, citric acid monohydrate, or polysorbate 80.

People with an allergic reaction may have chest tightness, hives, itching, skin rash, swelling of the tongue, lips, face and other parts of the body, wheezing, breathing difficulties, and shortness of breath.

You should not take Humira if you have:

  • A severe infection, active tuberculosis, and other infections that may occur when the immune system is weakened
  • You are currently taking Kineret (anakinra) or Orencia (abatacept)

It is important for your doctor to know if you have or had any of the medical conditions listed below:

  • Any type of infection, including a localized one, such as a leg ulcer
  • A fungal infection
  • Allergy to latex or rubber
  • Any heart condition
  • Any type of autoimmune disease
  • Any type of demyelinating disease, including multiple sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Recurrent infections, or any conditions which increase infection risk
  • Taking immunosuppressant medications
  • TB (tuberculosis), or if you have been close to somebody infected with TB
  • You are a carrier of the hepatitis B virus

Written by Christian Nordqvist


Copyright: Medical News Today

Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

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What Is Humira (Adalimumab)?

Humira (adalimumab) is a TNF inhibitor approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, chronic plaque psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Humira is used for pain relief and to reduce inflammation in a number of autoimmune diseases. Humira belongs to a class of drugs called biologics…

Sexual Dysfunction May Be A Tip-off To Heart Disease In Diabetic Men

Editor’s Choice
Main Category: Erectile Dysfunction / Premature Ejaculation
Also Included In: Diabetes;  Heart Disease
Article Date: 21 Jul 2012 – 9:00 PDT

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Sexual dysfunction may be a marker of cardiovascular disease in men with longstanding type 1 diabetes, investigators announced at the 72nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Sara Turek, MPH, and colleagues examined the association of sexual dysfunction with clinical markers of vascular disease in 301 men from the ongoing 50-Year Medalist Study who have had type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years. Turek is a coordinator for the study, which is being conducted at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

In prior analyses, only about half of the Medalist population has been shown to develop diabetic nephropathy, retinopathy, and neuropathy, which are complications that occur in nearly all type 1 diabetic patients in the general population by about 30 years after their initial diagnosis. The rate of cardiovascular disease in Medalists, however, is similar to that reported in age-matched patients with type 2 diabetes.

Research has also demonstrated that participants in the Medalist Study have usually maintained good long-term glycemic control.

One issue that had not been addressed in the Medalist cohort was sexual dysfunction. “We have noticed that while sexual dysfunction is a common complaint among male Medalists that significantly impairs their quality of life, there is a paucity of data on sexual dysfunction in men with long-duration type 1 diabetes,” Turek commented.

Overall, 210 male Medalists, or 69.8%, had sexual dysfunction as determined by an affirmative response to the question: “Have you ever had sexual problems?”

Males reporting a positive response had a hemoglobin (Hb)A1c of 7.1± 0.9% versus 6.8 ±0.8% in the no-dysfunction cohort (P=0.02). Body mass index (BMI) was 26.1 ±3.8 kg/m2 and. 25.8 ±3.6 kg/m2 (P=0.03) in the two groups, respectively, total cholesterol was 159.3 ±32.1 and 150.1 ±30.6 mg/dL(P=0.02), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) was 55.1 ±16.2 and 62.1 ±17.8 mg/dL (P

In addition, a history of cigarette smoking was associated with prevalence of sexual dysfunction (51.7% versus 39.3% in the sexual dysfunction and non-sexual dysfunction groups, respectively, P=0.05).

The researchers also examined clinical inflammatory markers that are commonly associated with cardiovascular risk and disease including C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL-6), and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1). Only IL-6 was significantly associated with patient reports of sexual dysfunction (P=0.03), and the association was independent of BMI, age, and glycemic control.

The findings suggest that sexual dysfunction follows the pattern of macrovascular complications seen in the Medalist group, Turek said. Also, the association with Il-6 may provide a pathway linking sexual dysfunction and macrovascular complications in this cohort.

Sara Turek said:

“The clinical message is that sexual dysfunction might be a more overt sign of cardiovascular issues or future cardiovascular issues than other clinical markers of cardiovascular disease symptoms such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. So if a patient presents with a complaint of sexual dysfunction, the physician may want to screen for cardiovascular problems since erectile dysfunction may be a predictor of increased cardiometabolic risk in aging men.”

Stephanie Hastings, BA, also a coordinator for the Medalist Study, emphasized that while the determination of erectile dysfunction based on a single question is a limitation to the study, she is confident that the measure provided an accurate assessment of the presence of erectile dysfunction in this group. “Sure, it’s subjective and open to interpretation but we spend a lot of time with our patients, and we find that they are very willing to share whatever information we request in order to help us in our research. We plan to follow up with a lengthier questionnaire, which we expect the majority of the participants to complete openly and honestly,” she said.

Written by: By Jill Stein
Jill Stein is a Paris-based freelance medical writer.

Copyright: Medical News Today

Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

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‘Sexual Dysfunction May Be A Tip-off To Heart Disease In Diabetic Men’

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Researchers from Austria have determined that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and their doctors differ on perception of RA disease activity. The study now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and published by Wiley, reports that RA patients cite joint pain as the reason for their perception of a change in their disease activity…

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