/ Modified may 1, 2010 2:25 a.m.

Arthritis Drug

Pam White tells us about a new drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis which was tested locally, and the hope it has brought to a Tucson woman who suffers from the disease.

In January 2010 the FDA approved a new drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis or (RA). It's to treat adults with moderately to severely active RA who do not respond to other treatments.

Susan Karder was diagnosed with RA a few years ago however, none of the conventional treatments worked. A wife and mother of two young children, the disease began to take its toll and she says, "once an independent person, I became very dependent on my family and even needed help standing up."

Fortunately she found out about a clinical trial in Tucson testing a new drug called ACTEMRA. ACTEMRA is a prescription medicine called an interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor inhibitor and is a different class of drug than the ones known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonist.

Rheumatologist Dr. Berchman Vaz head of the clinical trial says, "studies show that 20 to 30 percent of RA patients do not respond to conventional treatments so this drug is another tool that can be used to treat RA."

Treatments are given intravenously once a month. Susan said she could feel a difference, "the very first time she took the drug." Today she is working full time, hiking with her family, things she says she never would have been able to do without this treatment.

Watch Video of the Story:

University of Arizona Arthritis Center

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