New Research Shows Best Treatment Strategy for Early Rheumatoid Arthritis

HSS Early Arthritis Doctors Available to Comment

New York, NY—October 28, 2005 

New research published today in the November 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism should offer hope to the more than two million Americans suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) -- more than 75% of whom are women. A study conducted by researchers in the Netherlands sheds light on the best treatment strategy for a patient newly diagnosed with RA.

The study, which compared the four most commonly prescribed treatment strategies for early RA, showed that all four treatments resulted in measurable improvements in patients. However, those patients who received initial combination therapy had less disease progression and joint damage than the patients who received disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) alone or step-up combination therapy.

“The study’s main message for patients is that RA needs to be diagnosed early and treated early and actively, and with medications capable of stopping joint damage. This study is supportive of early combination therapy, but more research is still needed,” said Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP, clinical director of the Gosden Robinson Early Arthritis Center (EAC) at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and Joseph A. Markenson, MD, director of rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials at HSS, in a joint statement. 

The following doctors from the Gosden Robinson Early Arthritis Center at HSS are available to comment on this study and other early RA treatments:

Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP
Clinical Director, Gosden Robinson Early Arthritis Center at Hospital for Special Surgery

Stephen DiMartino, MD
Associate Clinical Director, Gosden Robinson Early Arthritis Center at Hospital for Special Surgery

Melanie Harrison, MD
Research Director, Gosden Robinson Early Arthritis Center at Hospital for Special Surgery

Joseph A. Markenson, MD
Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery

Stephen Paget, MD, FACP, FACR
Physician-in-Chief of the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Hospital for Special Surgery

The Gosden Robinson Early Arthritis Center (EAC) at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) was founded to promote the early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and to support research efforts to determine more effective treatment and prevention strategies. The EAC connects patients quickly and efficiently with a rheumatologist who can evaluate joint pain and start an appropriate course of treatment.  The patient’s primary care physician is kept fully advised of findings and recommendations. HSS was recently ranked the number 2 in rheumatology in the annual “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report.

Results of the study can be found at: http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis

About Hospital for Special Surgery
Founded in 1863, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics, No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2007), and has received Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In the 2006 edition of HealthGrades' Hospital Quality in America Study, HSS received five-star ratings for clinical excellence in its specialties. A member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, HSS provides orthopedic and rheumatologic patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. All Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are on the faculty of Weill Medical College of Cornell University. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at www.hss.edu.

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