Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients suffer from symptoms such as swollen joints, severe pain and stiffness, fever and fatigue, with severe negative consequences on their quality of life.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that involves inflammation of the synovium (a thin layer of tissue lining a joint space).
RA affects more than 20 million people globally, more than three out of four are women (World Health Organisation, The Global Burden of Disease Report, 2004; American College of Rheumatology; The Arthritis Foundation).
RA patients suffer from debilitating symptoms such as swollen joints, severe pain, stiffness, fever and fatigue which significantly reduce their quality of life. A particular feature of RA is the irreversible destruction of joint tissue by the immune system, predominantly by inflammatory macrophages.
Active RA causes not only joint damage, disability, decreased quality of life and socioeconomic decline, but also give rise to cardiovascular disease and other comorbidities. If left untreated, the inflamed synovium leads to irreversible cartilage/bone destruction and joint deformity, leading to loss of physical function, and inability to carry out daily tasks and maintain employment.
Currently, there is no cure for RA and the drugs used to control the disease have several shortcomings, such as poor response or no response in many patients, serious and adverse side effects, and injectable administration forms that often require visits to the hospital. Healthcare providers are also seeking new therapies associated with better outcomes for specific subpopulations due to the heterogeneous nature of RA. There is still a large unmet need for new oral therapies with novel modes of action to give rheumatologists real alternatives to current therapies.
For further information, please refer to:
- American College for Rheumatology: rheumatology.org
- European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology: eular.org
- British Society for Rheumatology: rheumatology.org.uk
- RA Societies: rheum4us.org; rheumatoidarthritis.org