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Arthritis Foundation publishes Drug Guide

By E.J. Mundell NEW YORK, Jul 20 (Reuters Health) -- The Arthritis Foundation has published what it calls an ``authoritative, unbiased and reliable创 guide to prescription and over-the-counter drugs used to treat arthritis. Patients consulting the Foundation's 1999 Drug Guide ``can compare and contrast what磗 known about various drugs, and what the side effects are,创 explained Dr. John Klippel, clinical director of the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland. Data regarding the dosage, safety and indications-for-use of most drugs is currently restricted to inserts and labeling found in product packaging. Many experts believe that much of this information is either incomplete or difficult for the average consumer to understand.

The Arthritis Foundation's Drug Guide offers detailed information on over 70 medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and glucocorticosteroids. The guide also includes information on medications used to fight osteoporosis, which can occur as a side effect of steroid treatment, and fibromyalgia. The Guide's editors have provided readers with easy-to-understand information on recommended dosages, as well as 'special instructions' for gaining maximum benefit from each drug. A 'Be Aware' column lists possible drug hazards or contraindications, with direct side effects listed under a separate heading. The guide also contains articles aimed at giving patients a better understanding of arthritis and the treatment process. In an interview with Reuters Health, Klippel stressed that the Guide may be an invaluable resource for patients looking to 'keep up' with the latest developments in arthritis treatment. ``If one just takes the last year alone, the Food and Drug Administration has approved four major drugs,创 he explained. 创In fact, one of the drugs (Enbrel) is the first newly-approved drug in the last decade for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Patients may not be aware of these new advances.创

The guide is published every 2 years, and the 1999 edition is featured in the July/August issue of the Foundation's magazine Arthritis Today. Arthritis patients and their caregivers can get a free copy of the 1999 Drug Guide by calling the Atlanta, Georgia-based Arthritis Foundation at 1-800-283-7800.

More information on the Arthritis Foundation is available on the Internet at http://www.arthritis.org

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