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Are the new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis safe?

A study from Germany shows that the biologic medications Etanercept and Infliximab, advertised heavily to treat arthritis, have a 28 percent rate of side effects (Arthritis & Rheumatism, November 2005.) Many doctors think that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a person’s own immunity gone haywire. Instead of killing germs that get into your body, your immunity attacks your own joints. Currently the accepted treatment is to suppress your immunity with drugs that slow the inevitable destruction of joints. However, these drugs leave you relatively defenseless against infections. In the first year of receiving these biological immune suppressants, six percent suffered serious infections. Other immune suppressants such as methotrexate, gold, plaquenil and sulfasalazine have fewer side effects, but they are less effective in preventing joint damage. Nonsteroidal drugs, such as ibuprofin help control pain, but do not prevent joint damage.

My unconventional but often successful treatment of arthritis

March 1, 2006
Checked 12/23/13

May 29th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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