Dr. Ruderman shares the treatments available for arthritis.
There are lots of treatments now for inflammatory arthritis and to understand those you have to understand a little bit about what causes inflammatory arthritis. Most of the things that we think of is inflammatory arthritis, certainly rheumatoid arthritis or lupus for example, we think of as autoimmune diseases in which the body’s own immune system is responding against itself in driving the inflammation, the damage that goes on in the arthritis.
And so, as a consequence, all of the treatments or most of the treatments at least that we think of, for those patients with that type of arthritis are aimed at suppressing the immune system gone awry.
In the past we’ve had to rely on a lot of medications that globally suppressed the immune system and there’s a lot of side effects associated with that because obviously immune system does some good, you need it to protect you against infections or other things.
Newer treatments actually are much more focussed and they can pick out the specific places in the immune system where things seem to be ongoing and turn them off and by doing so we can actually reduce the arthritis. The best way of thinking about it is to think about a disease like rheumatoid arthritis as if your body is responding to a foreign organism, a virus or bacteria and that even after that is gone you continue to have this response. And what we need to do with therapy is turn off that response.
We now have some really good treatments that work in a very targeted fashion to turn off the specific pieces of the immune response that continue unabated in someone who has active disease.
About Dr. Ruderman, M.D.:
Dr. Eric M. Ruderman, M.D., is associate professor in the division of rheumatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He is also a board member of the Arthritis Foundation of Greater Chicago.
Dr. Ruderman graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York, New York. He completed his residence at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship training in rheumatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.