Rheumatoid Arthritis - 2001 National Meeting (cont.)

Complications

Tuberculosis was reported to occur in RA patients four times more frequently than the general population.

Dr. Shiel's Perspective: While tuberculosis in the U.S. is not extremely common, this report is important. The reason is because the new "TNF-blocking" drugs, such as Remicade and Enbrel, have been documented to be associated with rare episodes of reactivation of tuberculosis. It seems that there is some increased risk simply from the rheumatoid condition itself. Currently, patients taking Remicade are recommended to be screened for tuberculosis with a skin test (PPD test) prior to starting the treatment.

For more, please visit MedicineNet.com' s Rheumatoid Arthritis Center.

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Last Editorial Review: 7/6/2004