People with rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of heart disease but immunotherapy may help reduce it, a new study shows.
Rhumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system, which normally protects the body, turns on it, leading to painful and inflamed joints. People with RA also have a higher level of inflammation generally, which is believed to play a role in their higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Among the substances that cause this inflammation are cytokines, particularly " necrosis factor (TNF) and interferon (IFN), which normally protect the body, but, in RA, attack healthy cells, and leads to the higher cardiovascular risk.
In previous research, Dr. Aida Babaeva, a Russian researcher at Volgograd State Medical University, demonstrated that treatment with immunological drugs lowers these cytokines.
The researchers found that those taking the combination of anticytokines had a lower rheumatoid arthritis disease activity score, and a decrease in inflammatory factors more than the group on standard therapy alone. In addition, the incidence of cardiovascular events (unstable angina, severe high blood pressure and a worsening of chronic heart failure) was more than double in the group on conventional disease-modifying drugs alone (37 percent) compared to those also taking the combination of anticytokines (13 percent).
The study does not mean that all patients with RA should receive the extra low-dose antocytokines drugs, but it does indicate the approach should be considered for the prevention of cardiovascular events in patients not receiving immunotherapy and who do not have severe complications, Babaeva says of the study, which was presented to the European Society of Cardiology.
© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.