News December, 2006 Issue

IN THE NEWS 12/06

Ibuprofen Counteracts Aspirinís Heart-Protective Benefit

Aspirin and ibuprofen donít mix. Thatís the conclusion of a recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which found that people who take low-dose (81 mg) aspirin daily to protect against heart attack and stroke can nullify that protection by taking 400 mg of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) less than a half-hour after taking aspirin. Further, the FDA claims the cardioprotective benefit of aspirin is undermined if you take it less than eight hours after taking ibuprofen.

What about acetaminophen (Tylenol)? A study conducted in 2001 suggests that acetaminophen does not interfere with aspirinís clot-fighting abilities. Whatís the verdict on slow-release aspirin, the kind that comes with an enteric coating that is considered less likely to irritate your stomach? The jury is still out the FDA says further investigation is needed on its interaction with ibuprofen.

As always, if you have questions about the interaction of

anymeds youíre taking, check with your doctor.

Infliximab Slows Progression Of Psoriatic Arthritis

Infliximab (Remicade), a powerful drug used to treat a variety of auto-immune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, also slows the progression of structural damage in psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis, a condition that causes swelling and pain around the joints, can affect the fingers, wrists, toes, knees, ankles, elbows, and shoulder joints, as well as the spine and joints in the lower back. It can also affect tissues surrounding the joints, including tendons and ligaments.

Infliximab has been shown to be effective in treating the pain of psoriatic arthritis, but it was not known, until researchers recently analyzed 72 patients with psoriatic arthritis, whether it influenced the progression of the disease. Investigators found that erosion scores and joint-space narrowing improved significantly, with more than 80 percent of patients experiencing no worsening in their condition.

Joint Distraction May Delay Need For Knee Replacement

Joint distraction the use of an external frame to relieve loading on periarticular bones (those surrounding a joint) may permit people with knee osteoarthritis to delay or even avoid total knee replacement. The technique is based on evidence that if the joint is unloaded for a period of time (typically two to three months), remaining cartilage will naturally regenerate and the joint space will expand.

Joint distraction is performed by placing pins in bony ends of the knee joint, then joining the pins together in an external frame. The separation eliminates stress on the bones, preventing further cartilage damage. When the fixation frame is removed, bone reloading triggers bone turnover with the release of growth factors important to cartilage repair.

In a study conducted in the Netherlands, joint distraction was performed on patients with severe ankle OA, and significant improvements in pain and function were seen in 75 percent of the patients. Researchers working with knee patients have discovered similar results.

If Youíre Overweight, Brisk Walking May Stress Your Knee Joints

Brisk walking places major stress on the knee joints of obese individuals, contributing significantly to musculoskeletal injuries. A study whose results were reported at the 2006 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine found that when walking at 3.4 mph, obese individuals largely because the width of their step is larger, putting a greater load on the medial compartment of the knee experience a 50 percent greater amount of torque at the knee than do normal-weight individuals. That increased torque disappeared when the subjects walked at 2.2 mph.

Researchers pointed to data indicating that nearly 25 percent of obese patients suffer a knee injury when when they first start walking for exercise, and that one in four of those patients never return to exercise, even after their injuries have healed.