A study from the Mayo Clinic shows that patients with rheumatoid arthritis expect to die sooner than they did 40 years ago, even though the lives of average North Americans have been extended considerably (1).

Most rheumatologists feel that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a person's immunity attacking his own joints. They treat rheumatoid arthritis with drugs, such as prednisone and methotrexate, that suppress immunity and inhibit your ability to kill germs. These drugs can shorten lives and increase risk for cancer (2,3).

Six recent studies show that the antibiotic, minocycline helps to relieve symptoms and reduced the blood test for rheumatoid arthritis called rheumatoid factor to zero (4,5,6,7,8). Another recent study from the University of Nebraska shows that 50% of people treated with minocycline for 6 months are off antibiotics four years later, while none of those treated with methotrexate and prednisone are cured (9) See reports #J106 and #J159.

1) SE Gabriel, CS Crowson, WM Ofallon. Mortality in rheumatoid arthritis: Have we made an impact in 4 decades? Journal of Rheumatology, 1999, Vol 26, Iss 12, pp 2529-2533. Address Crowson CS, Mayo Clin, Dept Hlth Sci Res, 200 1st St SW, Rochester,MN 55905 USA.

2) IC Tracey, GM Strand, K Singh, M Macaluso. Survival and drug discontinuation analyses in a large cohort of methotrexate treated rheumatoid arthritis patients. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 54: 9 (SEP 1995):708-712.

3) M Jones, D Symmons, J Finn, F Wolfe. Does exposure to immunosuppressive therapy increase the 10 year malignancy and mortality risks in rheumatoid arthritis? A matched cohort study. British Journal of Rheumatology 35: 8 (AUG 1996):738-745.

4)) First Netherlands study. 10 patients J of Rheumatology 1990;17(1):43-46.

5) 2nd Netherlands Study. 80 patients. Arthritis and Rheumatism 1994;37(5):629-636.

6) Israel Study. 18 patients. J of Rheumatology 1992;19(10):1502-1504.

7) U.S.Mira Study. 219 patients. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1995(Jan15);122(2):81-89.

8) U.S. U of Nebraska Study. 40 patients. Arthritis and Rheumatism 1997;40(5):842-848.

9) JR ODell, G Paulsen, CE Haire, K Blakely, W Palmer, S Wees, PJ Eckhoff, LW Klassen, M Churchill, D Doud, A Weaver, GF Moore. Treatment of early seropositive rheumatoid arthritis with minocycline - Four-year followup of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.Arthritis and Rheumatism, 1999, Vol 42, Iss 8, pp 1691-1695. O'Dell JR, Univ Nebraska, Med Ctr, Dept Internal Med, Nebraska Med Ctr 983025, Omaha,NE 68198 USA.

Checked 9/3/05

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