If you or a loved one suffers from arthritis, you’re probably familiar with how distressing this disease can be. Moreover, you would also be frustrated with the side effects that several arthritis drugs can cause.
A recent clinical trial
has explored whether the benefit of the use of steroids in arthritis outweighs the risks and side effects of this drug.
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body. RA simultaneously affects multiple joints in the body.
The common treatments for RA include steroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). All of these reduce the pain and swelling of the joints.
Since the 1950s a group of steroids called Glucocorticoids have been used in low doses for the treatment of a type of arthritis known as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Prednisolone (a type of glucocorticoid) is a steroid that is used to reduce inflammation. However, prednisolone is also associated with side effects, such as weight gain, mood changes, and increased risk of infection. So, the balance of benefits and harm of this drug needs to be found.
A recent clinical study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases has investigated the safety and effectiveness of using prednisolone (a type of steroid) in patients with RA.
The clinical trial, known as the GLORIA trial, aimed to investigate the effects of low-dose prednisolone on old patients with RA.
The clinical trial involved 451 patients who were divided into two groups. One group received prednisolone while the other group received a placebo. The patients were followed for 2 years during which the researchers monitored their disease activity, joint damage, and overall health.
The results of the clinical study showed that the patients who received steroid therapy had significant improvement in the symptoms of arthritis compared to the patients who received a placebo. These patients also had less joint damage compared to the other group.
Additionally, the risk of serious side effects in the prednisolone group was quite low. There was a 24% increase risk of minor side effects in patients taking steroids.
These results suggest that the benefits of low-dose prednisolone in RA outweigh the risks of the side effects. So, prednisolone may be a safe and effective treatment option for older patients with RA.
In conclusion, this clinical trial
offers promising results in the treatment of RA with low-dose steroids. By using prednisolone, patients may be able to reduce pain, swelling, and joint damage without experiencing serious negative side effects. As always, it's important to consult with a doctor before starting or changing any treatment plan for RA.