Arthritis discovery

May 19, 1995

The use of steroids could benefit thousands of arthritis sufferers, according to the results of an Pounds 85,000 research and clinical trial programme at Bristol University.

In the 1950s, high doses of steroids were used to treat the symptoms of advanced rheumatoid arthritis. This approach was abandoned because dangerous side-effects emerged.

But John Kirwan of Bristol University's Rheumatology Unit was convinced that low doses of corticosteroids could be effective.

In partnership with Margaret Byron of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, he developed a low-dose strategy and began clinical trials with 128 volunteer patients. Half were given the daily steroid pill, with the remainder receiving a placebo.

After it had been monitored for two years, it emerged that those on the low dose of corticosteroids had less bone and tissue damage. They also found that the underlying disease had been reduced.

"The exciting thing about the result is that we now have the hope of controlling the disease long term," he said. The study was financed by the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Common cactus finch (Geospiza scandens)

Tiffany Taylor on a thought-provoking view of the forces acting to ensure survival

Student asking question during class

University of Reading research finds link between undergraduate satisfaction and ethnicity of lecturers

Level of quality compass

Authors argue this means universities should spend less on senior academics and give promising younger scholars more of a chance

Maths lecture

Students are arriving at university with unrealistic expectations of the mathematical demands of their subject, finds Paul Glaister

United Kingdom policemen standing by patrol car

Paul Hamilton speaks of ‘heartbreaking’ detention by Home Office officials after leave to remain application refused