Arthritis therapy helps patients for up to 3 years

Earlier use of second-line agents in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can have lasting positive effects, according to a study from Montreal General Hospital presented at a recent meeting of the American College of Rheumatologists.

Patients with early RA (two years or less) who did not respond to first-line nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were given second-line therapy with Plaquenil (hydroxycloroquine sulfate) for nine months. They experienced a significant reduction in the average pain intensity, and the impact on their general well-being continued for as long as three years. The control group received comparable second-line therapy after the nine-month trial but did not see the same benefit to pain reduction and well-being.