Differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis the same differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis? They aren’t, and in this slideshow we look at differences between these two diseases.

They aren’t, and in this slideshow we look at differences between these two diseases. Which form of arthritis do you have? Arthritis comes in many forms. In fact, this term can apply to a number of conditions, including psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and osteoarthritis. OA is a degenerative condition that develops because of excessive wear to the cartilage between the joints. RA can strike any joint, regardless of how much or how little the joint has been used.

They are treated with different medications. OA is generally treated with over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory painkillers. In severe cases, OA patients may be prescribed narcotic painkillers as well. They also may be given hyaluronan injections directly into an affected joint.

They affect the body differently. Because it is an autoimmune disease, RA can affect not only the joints but a person’s organs as well. They strike people of different age groups. OA in these overused joints. RA can affect anyone at any age.

It is more common in women and its symptoms tend to be more aggressive in women as well. They worsen at different rates. OA develops and gets worse over a long period of time as people age and put more and more wear on their joints. Conversely, RA can strike and advance into a full-blown and disabling condition over the course of mere weeks or months. A STAT investigation found that the risks of Actemra, a rheumatoid arthritis drug, might be greater than patients are led to believe. Treatments for the disabling disease afflicting about 1.

Unlike competing drugs, it wasn’t associated with heart attacks, heart failure, or life-threatening lung complications. Yet hundreds of patients taking Actemra have died from such problems, and many more have suffered harm. STAT analyzed more than 500,000 side-effect reports on rheumatoid arthritis drugs, and found clear evidence that the risks of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other conditions were as high or higher for Actemra patients than for patients taking some competing drugs. Most of those medications warn about these risks on their labels. Consumers are barraged every day with drug ads accompanied by numbing lists of side effects, but STAT’s investigation shows that the risks to patients might be greater than they are led to believe. The Food and Drug Administration has received reports on 1,128 people who died after taking Actemra, and has reviewed its safety several times since it was approved.

But the agency doesn’t have sophisticated tools to determine whether the drug was a culprit or a bystander in those deaths. Though the agency is charged with monitoring the safety of prescription drugs, it doesn’t verify the side-effect reports it receives. The documents often lack crucial information, and they don’t prove that Actemra was the cause. Still, they can be telling.