Today was the first day of the British Society for Paediatric & Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR) annual meeting and the organizers had done a fantastic job of filling the schedule with very interesting (and entertaining!) presentations. Important issues such as patient sexual health, uveitis and the usefulness of ultrasound for paediatric rheumatologists were covered.
However, the key theme that seemed to run throughout the day was the issue of transitioning patients to adult care and maintaining continuity of care.
“Devil’s claw”, “Bogbean”, “Thunder God Vine” – these names all sound decidedly less medical (and rather more mystical) than “methotrexate” and “sulfasalazine”. However, they all have a common application and are regularly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The difference obviously is, that devil’s claw and bogbean are herbal remedies, while methotrexate and sulfasalazine are synthetic drugs.
The annual meeting of the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology will be taking place later this week in Nottingham. Starting on Thursday morning and lasting two days, the conference is set to focus on some of the major challenges facing British pediatric rheumatologists.
Being able to target individual patients with the most appropriate treatment has long been regarded as the ‘Holy Grail’ of medicine, and this sentiment is definitely true for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).
The inability of doctors to predict a patient’s response to medication is a perpetual frustration, and commonly results in the need for switching drugs multiple times until an efficacious option is found. Consequently, effective treatment is delayed, much to the detriment of the patient’s health.
Cardiovascular disease is recognized as the leading cause of death in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and accounts for nearly 40% of their mortality. Although the direct cause for this has long remained unknown, a new study published recently by Dr. Lena Innala and colleagues sheds new light on this issue.
The license recently granted to Roche’s tocilizumab - making it the first drug specifically indicated for systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) in the UK - coupled to the much-anticipated and long overdue NICE investigation of sJIA treatment has generated a particularly strong emotional response from doctors and patients alike.
This strength of reaction is illustrated in the words of Ailsa Bosworth, chief executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society: "Children with sJIA and their families [can] look to a future with hope."