AS & Psoriatic Arthritis - Arthritis Meeting 2003 (cont.)

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease that is characterized by inflammation of the skin (psoriasis) and joints (arthritis). Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects 2% of the Caucasian population in the United States. It is often characterized by patchy, raised, red areas of skin inflammation with scaling. Psoriasis often affects the tips of the elbows and knees, the scalp, the navel, and around the genital areas or anus. Approximately 10% of patients who have psoriasis also develop an associated inflammation of their joints. Patients who have arthritis and psoriasis are diagnosed as having psoriatic arthritis.

Ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis are genetically and clinically related diseases. I will, therefore, report on papers presented at this meeting related to both of the diseases here.

Medications

Several reports noted the safety and effectiveness of Enbrel (etanercept) for treating patients with psoriatic arthritis. Enbrel was also shown, in a separate study, to improve quality of life in patients with psoriatic arthritis.

Dr. Shiel's Perspective: Enbrel has been granted FDA approval for psoriatic arthritis this year because of previous reports that had similar results.

Enbrel was reported effective in treating ankylosing spondylitis.


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