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American College of Rheumatology, Nov. 12-16

Last Updated: November 17, 2016.

The 80th Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology

The annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology was held from Nov. 12 to 16 in Washington, D.C., and attracted approximately 17,000 participants from around the world, including rheumatology specialists, physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the latest advances in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis as well as other rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

In one study, Timothy Beukelman, M.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues observed a 2.4-fold increased rate of malignancy among all children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), compared to the general population.

"The diagnosis of JIA was associated with a subsequent increased rate of malignancy irrespective of treatment. Malignancy rates following treatment with TNF inhibitors were similar to rates among JIA patients who did not receive TNF inhibitors," Beukelman said. "While not a fully conclusive study because of the rarity of childhood cancer, these results should diminish concerns about the risk of malignancy due to TNF inhibitors in clinical practice."

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In another study, Lisa Gaynon, M.D., of the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and colleagues found that race/ethnicity, low education, and low health literacy were associated with delays in receiving specialty care for lupus.

"In our study, we found that African-Americans and Asians, patients with a high school education or less, and patients with low health literacy experienced longer delays to seeing a specialist for treatment of their lupus. Future studies will look further into why these associations exist and how we can work with higher-risk populations to improve their access to specialty care," Gaynon said. "Clinicians treating lupus patients should be aware of the racial/ethnic and socioeconomic factors contributing to delays in accessing specialty care. Lack of specialty care has been associated with poorer disease outcomes in lupus, so the more we can do to expedite referrals and encourage patients to follow up, the better off they will be."

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Hsin-Husan Juo, M.D., of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues found that continuing medications such as methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, leflunomide monotherapy, or methotrexate plus TNF inhibitors during the perioperative period is not associated with an increased the risk of postoperative infectious complications in surgical patients.

"Weighing the risk of infection, flare up, and recovery from surgeries, caregivers could consider continuing medication during the perioperative period as there is no statistical significant difference in the risk of infection whether the medication is on hold before surgery or not," Juo said. "In addition, continuing medication could improve rheumatoid arthritis control and potentially improve recovery from surgery."

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ACR: High Demand for CVD-Preventive Meds in IJD

TUESDAY, Nov. 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with inflammatory joint diseases (IJD), cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention medication is often indicated, but less often initiated, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 12 to 16 in Washington, D.C.

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ACR: Demand Exceeds Supply for Rheumatologists

MONDAY, Nov. 14, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The current demand for rheumatologists exceeds supply, and this situation is projected to worsen by 2030, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 12 to 16 in Washington, D.C.

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ACR: First-Line Rituximab May Improve Survival in RA-ILD

MONDAY, Nov. 14, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with interstitial lung disease (ILD), long-term survival seems better for those who receive rituximab as their first biologic rather than a tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor (TNFi), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 12 to 16 in Washington, D.C.

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