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Common rheumatoid arthritis drugs don't increase death risk, study claims

Common rheumatoid arthritis drugs don't increase death risk, study claims
8th August 2012

A study has claimed that a set of common rheumatoid arthritis drugs do not increase mortality among patients.

Researchers from the Clinical Epidemiology Unit at Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that there is no difference in death rates between those treated with TNF inhibitors Humira, Enbrel and Remicade, and those without.

The discovery was made in a population-based study, in which data was linked from the Swedish Biologics Register and national registers on all-cause mortality, demographics and rheumatoid arthritis characteristics.

Dr Julia Fridman Simard, lead author on the study, commented: "Understanding risk versus benefits of treatment with the most commonly prescribed biologics is important for physicians and patients in managing RA (rheumatoid arthritis)."

However, Dr Simard warns further studies are needed to see if TNF inhibitors produce the same results in certain subsets of patients, before it can conclusively be deemed that the drugs hold no mortality risk.

Such investigations will prove vital for the thousands of Britons currently with rheumatoid arthritis, which causes joint pain, swelling and even disability in patients.

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