Monday, April 21, 2008

Arthritis drugs May Protect the Heart

The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, conducted a study including more than 4300 rheumatoid arthritis patients from 15 different countries to see if arthritis medications may protect the heart. They found that drugs such as methotrexate, inflammation suppressing TNF-alpha blockers, leflunomide, sulfasalazine and glucocorticoids, used over a long period of time protected the heart and reduced the risk of cardiovascular death.

They reasoned that prolonged exposure to the drugs reduced inflammation of blood vessels and the risk of myocardial infarction, otherwise known as heart attack.

The researchers are asking that their study be taken to heart, so to speak, when dealing with rheumatoid arthritis patients. They think that cardiovascular risk factors, along with inflammatory activity of the disease, should be controlled. They are asking for this especially in severe cases.

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