Rheumatology News celebrates 20 years


As Rheumatology News celebrates 20 years of publication in 2022, we’ll be taking a look back at rheumatology’s past and ahead to its future throughout the year. This time around, we’ll examine the first issue of Rheumatology News, which was published in February 2002. You can read the first-ever issue at the "PDF Download" link above.

In that premiere issue, information about early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors and other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) featured prominently. A front-page story described new findings showing that early treatment of RA with DMARDs could reduce disease-related disability by one-third or more. A second article described quantitative improvement in MRI-detected synovitis in patients with early RA who were treated with infliximab for 14 weeks, while another reported on clinically relevant responses seen in 66% of patients treated with adalimumab plus methotrexate in a trial of patients with an inadequate response to methotrexate alone.

Photo of first print issue of Rheumatology News, Feb 2002

In other RA news, a report focused on low rates of preventive health care services and screening for other disorders in women, including Pap smears, mammograms, and influenza vaccinations. Another story suggested the possibility that methotrexate may elevate cancer risk in patients with RA. An analysis of two separate prospective studies indicated that women who regularly drink decaffeinated coffee may be at higher risk for developing RA.

Another page 1 story examined the potential of new drugs bosentan and epoprostenol for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with various forms of connective tissue disease.

Etanercept was the focus of two articles, one announcing its approval for psoriatic arthritis, and another describing a small trial of the biologic in treating moderate to severe ankylosing spondylitis.

In osteoarthritis news, a front-page report described two placebo-controlled studies of oral glucosamine sulfate supplementation that suggested the formulation might slow the progression of joint space narrowing in postmenopausal women, and another article noted how a combined formulation of tramadol and acetaminophen reduced OA pain flares.

Readers were also treated to a pro and con editorial debate between Frederick Wolfe, MD, and Thomas J. Romano, MD, on whether trauma causes fibromyalgia.

Looking ahead

Throughout 2022, look for articles examining the past and future of rheumatology, including:

  • The rise of women in the field;
  • the rise of biologic and targeted synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs;
  • the history and ongoing influence of OMERACT (Outcome Measures in Rheumatology);
  • the growth and future of ACR-EULAR collaborations;
  • progress and future directions of pediatric rheumatology; and
  • the growth in understanding how sociodemographics and racial/ethnic identity affect access to and acceptance and receipt of rheumatologic care.

Are there any topics you think would be valuable to cover in light of Rheumatology News’ 20th anniversary? The editorial staff welcomes your suggestions. Please share them by emailing us at rhnews@mdedge.com.

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