Smokers May See Fewer Benefits from Medications for Arthritic Back Pain
If you’re taking medications to treat inflammatory arthritis in your back and you smoke, you may want to look into a new Swiss study that suggests you may not be benefiting as much from your medications as you could be.
According to an article in HealthDay News:
Researchers from University Hospital Zurich looked at how 700 people with this type of arthritis responded to treatment with a class of drugs called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. About two-thirds of the patients were smokers.
After one to two years of treatment, the drugs were significantly less effective in smokers. The difference was particularly apparent among patients who had higher levels of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein at the start of the study.
Former smokers did not experience reduced effectiveness from the drugs, according to the study. The research only saw an association between smoking and the drugs’ benefits, not a cause-and-effect relationship.
While it wasn’t immediately clear how smoking impaired patients’ response to the medications, there was concern that smoking may trigger a rise in inflammation. This would increase pain by interfering with nerves or starving the body’s tissues of oxygen.
This study is not the first, but certainly the latest that suggests smoking increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and hampers the effectiveness of several arthritis medications.
If you have questions about your arthritis medications, please visit any Owens Healthcare location and speak with one of our pharmacists.