Biologics, Other Advancements Have Helped Those With Painful Condition
When MedPage Today contacted Dr. Joan Von Feldt to talk about the changes she’d witnessed in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) care in the past 25 years, she offered one piece of advice:
“I hope, in your article, you reflect the excitement that rheumatologists have in managing this disease, because it’s so much more satisfying,” said Von Feldt, a rheumatologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1984, the outlook for newly diagnosed RA patients was grim: a regimen of often toxic drugs that might slow the onset of crippling pain, but not for very long. Younger women were advised to forget about having children because they probably would be too disabled for the rigors of motherhood. The best outcome for many patients was joint fusion or replacement surgery.
“Our orthopedic surgeon came around to our offices two or three times a week to just kind of check in,” Von Feldt recalled.
Today, although disease flares and progression can’t be prevented entirely, doctors can now tell patients to expect long periods of remission and the availability of many effective, nonsurgical treatment options when their current regimens begin to fail.