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ICYMI: Telemedicine Bloopers and Successes

At my COVID home command center, I feel pretty prepared for everything. From here, I can run my practice, manage and home-school 3 children and keep the family afloat.  I have 2 computers: one for telemedicine/business meetings and one for e-learning lessons/school updates that teachers and school administrators email me throughout the day for my children.  As a no-nonsense, organized mom and doctor, I felt ready to handle any issues that would arise. 

Staying Abreast of COVID-19

Dealing with unknowns is both difficult and frustrating, as the answer is often not within our reach. The current pandemic has created a tidal wave of unknowns, scaring patients and putting physicians in a difficult spot.

Remembering the Names of Drugs

Knowing the names of the agents in today’s armamentarium should be simple. But, the nomenclature is notoriously confusing. The names of monoclonal antibodies can stretch to five syllables which defy easy pronunciation beyond the “mab” at the end. Who comes up with these names anyway?

ACR 2017 Highlights: RA, SpA, PsA, OA, Lupus and More

The quality of the meeting was on par with the host city, with extensive data presented on a range of topics, from social media to drug safety. The organization committee did a great job and I got the feeling that most people felt the congress was user friendly given the magnitude of the event. During this year’s meeting, I had the privilege of working with the RheumNow team, which gave me the opportunity to hone my social media skills and get my Twitter game on. After reviewing plenty of posters and going to numerous presentations, here are my top take home messages as classified by disease state.

The IL-6 Wars

In the years to come, the availability of numerous new IL-6 inhibitors it will either complicate treatment decisions, alter existing treatment paradigms, or result in an all-out war against TNF inhibitor dominance. Data, differences and time will tell.

It's the engine that kills ya’, not the caboose

This past weekend I was fortunate to lecture at the Harvard Advances in Rheumatology Course, where I reviewed the safety issues surrounding the use of biologic therapies. In discussing infections, cancer, cardiovascular events, etc., it became very clear to me that these problems, while worrisome, are often escalated in their importance – all at the expense of what is most dangerous: RA itself.

MONEYBALL

The movie Moneyball is a David versus Goliath tale with the A’s (David) struggling to compete with Goliath teams like the Yankees. The movie pits hunch-driven “expertise” (convention) against a mathematic approach to decision making (Moneyball). Would you trust a big Whopper computer printout of next best drug(s) to give to Mrs. Hawking who has psoriatic arthritis and needs to start a DMARD? I believe most of you would huff and scoff at a formulaic or number-driven approach.

Time for a Paradigm Change in Rheumatoid Arthritis

How many clues are needed for a rheumatologist to know something is wrong with the therapeutic soup he/she is trying to concoct?  One patient's tale leads to rethinking the RA treatment paradigm.

Guiding Patients Considering Biologics

What are the questions patients should ask their doctors about biologics? Are there rules for starting and stopping biologics?

Biologic Prescribing and Patient Education

Biologics are big. Their popularity is reflected in their growing use since being introduced in 1998. Biologics have been used by more than 3 million patients worldwide. In 2013, Enbrel, Remicade and Humira accounted for nearly $30 billion in worldwide sales. In the USA, it is estimated that we will spend $220 billion on biologics by 2017. 

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