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2.  The osteocyte as a therapeutic target in the treatment of osteoporosis 
Osteoporosis is characterized by a low bone-mineral density associated with skeletal fractures. The decrease in bone-mineral density is the consequence of an unbalanced bone-remodeling process, with higher bone resorption than bone formation. The orchestration of the bone-remodeling process is under the control of the most abundant cell in bone, the osteocyte. Functioning as an endocrine cell, osteocytes are also a source of soluble factors that not only target cells on the bone surface, but also target distant organs. Therefore, any drugs targeting the osteocyte functions and signaling pathways will have a major impact on the bone-remodeling process. This review discusses potential advances in drug therapy for osteoporosis, including novel osteocyte-related antiresorptive and anabolic agents that may become available in the coming years.
PMCID: PMC4040939  PMID: 24891879
drug therapy; osteocyte; osteoporosis
3.  Biological therapies for spondyloarthritis 
Biological therapies and new imaging techniques have changed the therapeutic and diagnostic approach to spondyloarthritis. In patients with axial spondyloarthritis, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) inhibitor treatment is currently the only effective therapy in patients for whom conventional therapy with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has failed. TNFα inhibitor treatment is more effective in preventing articular damage in peripheral joints than in axial ones. It is important to treat patients at an early stage of disease to reduce disease progression; moreover it is necessary to identify causes of therapy inefficacy in preventing joint damage in the axial subset.
PMCID: PMC4040940  PMID: 24891880
biological therapy; spondyloarthritis; tumor necrosis factor
4.  Role of sclerostin in bone and cartilage and its potential as a therapeutic target in bone diseases 
Sclerostin is a small protein expressed by the SOST gene in osteocytes, bone cells that respond to mechanical stress applied to the skeleton and appear to play an important role in the regulation of bone remodeling. When sclerostin binds to its receptors on the cell surface of osteoblasts, a downstream cascade of intracellular signaling is initiated, with the ultimate effect of inhibiting osteoblastic bone formation. Recent studies have shown that the SOST gene is also expressed by articular chondrocytes and that modulation of its activity may have effects on articular cartilage and subchondral bone. The role of sclerostin in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis in humans has not yet been defined, and the potential utility of treating osteoarthritis with interventions that alter sclerostin is not known. Rare genetic skeletal disorders in humans with low sclerostin levels, such as sclerosteosis and van Buchem disease, have been associated with a high bone mineral density (BMD) phenotype and low risk of fractures. This has led to the concept that antisclerostin interventions might be useful in the treatment of patients with osteoporosis and skeletal disorders associated with low bone mass. Compounds that inhibit sclerostin have been shown to stimulate bone formation and reduce bone resorption, with a robust increase in BMD. Investigational monoclonal antibodies to sclerostin, including romosozumab, blosozumab, and BPS804, have advanced to phase II clinical trials or beyond. If antisclerostin therapy is found to have beneficial effects on clinical endpoints, such as reduction of fracture risk or improvement in quality of life in patients with osteoarthritis, with a favorable balance of benefit and risk, then this class of compounds may become a prominent addition to the options for therapy of osteoporosis and other skeletal disorders.
PMCID: PMC3956136  PMID: 24688605
anabolic; blosozumab; BPS804; osteoporosis; romosozumab; sclerostin
5.  Role of ultrasound in the understanding and management of vasculitis 
Vasculitis is characterized by a circumferential vessel-wall thickening (‘halo’), which can be visualized by modern imaging techniques. In particular, the resolution of ultrasound has increased to 0.1 mm. Ultrasound detects abnormalities that are pathognomonic even in arteries with a diameter below 1 mm. It is particularly helpful in the diagnosis of large-vessel vasculitides, such as classic temporal arteritis, large-vessel giant-cell arteritis (GCA), Takayasu arteritis and idiopathic aortitis. Echocardiography is important for determining cardiac involvement in Takayasu arteritis and also for examining the coronary arteries of children with suspected Kawasaki disease, which is a medium-vessel vasculitis. In small vessel vasculitides ultrasound has only a role for determining the distribution or organ involvement.
Fast-track clinics for the diagnosis of GCA help to initiate treatment before complications such as blindness occur; patients receive appointments within 24 h in these clinics. Clinical examination and ultrasound of temporal and axillary arteries are performed by an experienced rheumatologist. In most cases this is able to determine if GCA is present. Temporal artery biopsy can be still carried out in ambivalent cases. The wall swelling of temporal arteries disappears after 2–3 weeks of glucocorticoid treatment. After 3 days of treatment, diagnosis becomes more difficult with ultrasound in some cases. In larger arteries, such as the axillary arteries, wall thickening disappears within months. It tends to be darker (more hypoechoic) in acute disease because of oedema.
PMCID: PMC3956137  PMID: 24688604
aortitis; giant-cell arteritis; Kawasaki disease; Takayasu arteritis; temporal arteritis; ultrasound; vasculitis
6.  Experience with rituximab in the treatment of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis 
Prior to the 1970s, severe cases of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis (AAV) were thought to be invariably fatal. However, the use of cyclophosphamide-based treatment regimens fundamentally altered disease outcomes, transforming AAV into a manageable, chronic illness. Despite the tremendous success of cyclophosphamide in the treatment of AAV, there remained a need for alternative therapies, due to high rates of treatment failures and significant toxicities. In recent years, with the introduction of targeted biologic response modifiers into clinical practice, many have hoped that the treatment options for AAV could be expanded. Rituximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody directed against the B-lymphocyte protein CD20, has been the most successful biologic response modifier to be used in AAV. Following the first report of its use in AAV in 2001, experience with rituximab for treatment of AAV has rapidly expanded. Rituximab, in combination with glucocorticosteroids, is now well established as a safe and effective alternative to cyclophosphamide for remission induction for severe manifestations of granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis. In addition, initial experiences with rituximab for remission maintenance in these diseases have been favorable, as have experiences for remission induction in eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis.
PMCID: PMC3956138  PMID: 24688606
antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody; antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis; eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Churg–Strauss syndrome); granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis); microscopic polyangiitis; rituximab; vasculitis
7.  Sarcoidois: is it only a mimicker of primary rheumatic disease? A single center experience 
Sarcoidosis is known as a T helper 1 lymphocyte (Th1-Ly) mediated disease which can imitate or sometimes accompany many primary rheumatic diseases. The purpose of this study is to share the clinical, demographic and laboratory data of patients presenting with rheumatologic manifestations and diagnosed with sarcoidosis.
A total of 42 patients (10 men) were included in the study. The patients were admitted to the rheumatology outpatient clinic for the first time with different rheumatic complaints between November 2011 and May 2013 and were diagnosed with sarcoidosis after relevant tests. Clinical, demographic, laboratory, radiological and histological data of these patients were collected during the 18-month follow-up period and then analyzed.
Mean patient age was 45.2 years (20–70 years) and mean duration of disease was 3.5 years (1 month–25 years). Evaluation of system and organ involvement revealed that 20 (47.6%) patients had erythema nodosum, 3 (7.1%) had uveitis, 1 (2.3%) had myositis, 1 (2.3%) had neurosarcoidosis, 32 (76.2%) had arthritis and 40 (95.2%) had arthralgia. Of the 32 patients with arthritis, 28 (87.5%) had involvement of the ankle, 3 (9.4%) had involvement of the knee and 1 (3.2%) had involvement of the wrist. No patient had cardiac involvement. Thoracic computed tomography scan showed stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 sarcoidosis in 12 (28.5%), 22 (52.4%), 4 (9.5%) and 4 (9.5%) patients, respectively. Histopathology of sarcoidosis was verified by endobronchial ultrasound, mediastinoscopy and skin and axillary biopsy of lymphadenopathies, which revealed noncaseating granulomas. Laboratory tests showed elevated serum angiotensin-converting enzyme in 15 (35.7%) patients, elevated serum calcium level in 6 (14.2%) patients and elevated serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D concentrations in 2 (4.7%) patients. Serological tests showed antinuclear antibody positivity in 12 (28.5%) patients, rheumatoid factor positivity in 7 (16.6%) patients and anticyclic citrullinated antibody positivity in 2 (4.8%) patients.
Sarcoidosis can imitate or accompany many primary rheumatic diseases. Sarcoidosis should be considered not simply as an imitator but as a primary rheumatic pathology mediated by Th1-Ly. New studies are warranted on this subject.
PMCID: PMC3897166  PMID: 24489610
primary rheumatic disease; rheumatologic manifestations; sarcoidosis
8.  Advances and challenges in the diagnosis and treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica 
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a common inflammatory condition that often affects people over the age of 50 years. Characteristic symptoms are shoulder and hip girdle pain and prolonged morning stiffness. Markers of inflammation are often elevated. Clinicians are often faced with the challenge of distinguishing PMR from other conditions, particularly rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathy that can mimic symptoms of PMR in older people. Additionally, there is an association between PMR and giant cell arteritis, a common large-vessel vasculitis which also affects people over the age of 50 years. Imaging of the large vessels in asymptomatic patients with PMR often reveals findings of subclinical vasculitis.
Presently, there are no tests that are specific for the diagnosis of PMR and clinicians rely on a combination of history, physical examination, laboratory tests and imaging studies to make a diagnosis. A recent undertaking by the European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology has led to the publication of provisional classification criteria of PMR. Ultrasonography, which is being increasingly used by rheumatologists, can greatly aid in the diagnosis of PMR and often shows changes of synovitis and tenosynovitis.
Treatment consists of low doses of glucocorticoids which are associated with morbidity. Evaluation of newer biologic therapies targeting inflammatory cytokines is underway. Despite treatment, relapses are common.
PMCID: PMC3897167  PMID: 24489611
classification; diagnosis; polymyalgia rheumatica; treatment; ultrasonography
9.  Targeting the synovial angiogenesis as a novel treatment approach to osteoarthritis 
Synovitis is a key feature in osteoarthritis and is associated with symptom severity. Synovial membrane inflammation is secondary to cartilage degradation which occurs in the early stage and is located adjacent to cartilage damage. This inflammation is characterized by the invasion and activation of macrophages and lymphocytes, the release in the joint cavity of large amounts of pro-inflammatory and procatabolic mediators, and by a local increase of synovial membrane vascularity. This latter process plays an important role in the chronicity of the inflammatory reaction by facilitating the invasion of the synovium by immune cells. Therefore, synovial membrane angiogenesis represents a key target for the treatment of osteoarthritis. This paper is a narrative review of the literature referenced in PubMed during the past 5 years. It addresses in particular three questions. What are the mechanisms involved in synovium blood vessels invasion? Are current medications effective in controlling blood vessels formation and invasion? What are the perspectives of research in this area?
PMCID: PMC3897168  PMID: 24489612
angiogenesis; arthritis; synovium; vascularization
10.  Clinical experience with duloxetine in the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain. A focus on osteoarthritis of the knee 
Duloxetine is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) with central nervous system activity. Its analgesic efficacy in central pain is putatively related to its influence on descending inhibitory pain pathways. The analgesic efficacy of duloxetine has been demonstrated in four distinct chronic pain conditions. These include neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain, and osteoarthritis knee pain (OAKP). The purpose of this review is to examine the clinical efficacy and safety of duloxetine in the management of chronic OAKP. Three separate randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated that (1) a clinically meaningful decrease in pain severity occurs at about 4 weeks relative to placebo, (2) patients receiving duloxetine report better improvements in physical functioning relative to placebo, (3) duloxetine is safe and effective when used adjunctively with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and (4) that there are no new safety signals beyond what has been observed in other indications.
PMCID: PMC3836379  PMID: 24294303
Chronic pain management; drug interactions; duloxetine; osteoarthritis
11.  Canakinumab in patients with cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome: an update for clinicians 
The cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome (CAPS) is a very rare disease. It is estimated that there are 1–2 cases for every 1 million people in the US and 1 in every 360,000 in France. However, many patients are diagnosed very late or not at all, meaning the real prevalence is likely to be higher. CAPS encompasses the three entities of familial cold auto-inflammatory syndrome (FCAS), Muckle–Wells syndrome (MWS), and neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID)/chronic infantile neurologic, cutaneous and articular (CINCA) syndrome. They have in common a causative mutation in the NLRP3 gene. The altered gene product cryopyrin leads to activation of the inflammasome which in turn is responsible for excessive production of interleukin (IL)-1β. IL-1β causes the inflammatory manifestations in CAPS. These appear as systemic inflammation including fever, headache or fatigue, rash, eye disease, progressive sensorineural hearing loss, musculoskeletal manifestations and central nervous system (CNS) symptoms (NOMID/CINCA only). With the advent of IL-1 Inhibitors, safe and effective therapeutic options became available for this devastating disease. To prevent severe and possible life-threatening disease sequelae, early and correct diagnosis and immediate initiation of therapy are mandatory in most patients. Canakinumab is a fully human monoclonal IgG1 anti-IL-1β antibody. It provides selective and prolonged IL-1β blockade and has demonstrated a rapid (within hours), complete and sustained response in most CAPS patients without any consistent pattern of side effects. Long-term follow-up trials have demonstrated sustained efficacy, safety and tolerability. Canakinumab is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for FCAS and MWS and by European Medicines Agency for treatment of all three phenotypes of CAPS.
PMCID: PMC3836377  PMID: 24294305
canakinumab; cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome (CAPS); IL-1β-inhibition
12.  Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome: how to diagnose a rare but highly fatal disease 
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a multisystem autoimmune condition characterized by vascular thromboses and/or pregnancy loss associated with persistently positive antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). Catastrophic APS (CAPS) is the most severe form of APS with multiple organ involvement developing over a short period of time, usually associated with microthrombosis. ‘Definite’ and ‘probable’ CAPS have been defined based on the preliminary classification criteria; however, in a real-world setting, aPL-positive patients with multiple organ thromboses and/or thrombotic microangiopathies exist who do not fulfill these criteria. Previous APS diagnosis and/or persistent clinically significant aPL positivity is of great importance for the CAPS diagnosis; however, almost half of the patients who develop CAPS do not have a history of aPL positivity. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the diagnostic challenges and the recently updated diagnostic algorithms for CAPS providing a ‘step-by-step’ approach for clinicians (and researchers) in the assessment of patients with multiple organ thromboses.
PMCID: PMC3836378  PMID: 24294304
anti-β2-glycoprotein-1 antibody; antiphospholipid syndrome; anticardiolipin antibody; catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome; lupus anticoagulant; thrombosis
13.  Acknowledgements 
PMCID: PMC3836380  PMID: 24294306
14.  Treatment of osteoporosis in men with bisphosphonates: rationale and latest evidence 
Osteoporosis in men contributes to significant morbidity and mortality. Hip fractures in men are associated with greater mortality compared with women, with a mortality rate of up to 37.5% within a year following the fracture. Its timely diagnosis and treatment are therefore essential. However, despite one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occurring in men, osteoporosis in men remains an immensely under-recognized and undertreated public health problem. Bisphosphonates are well studied first-line treatments for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and have been shown to reduce fragility fractures at all clinically important sites (vertebral, nonvertebral, hip and wrist). However, the majority of studies of oral or intravenous bisphosphonate therapy in men with osteoporosis report effects on surrogate markers, including bone mineral density (BMD) and biochemical bone turnover markers, rather than on fragility fractures. Oral or intravenous bisphosphonate therapy increases spinal, total hip and femoral neck BMD compared with placebo in men with osteoporosis. Both bone resorption and bone formation markers are decreased following bisphosphonate therapy, with the onset of the decrease in bone formation markers being delayed. In a study of intravenous zoledronic acid given to older men and women following a hip fracture, any clinical vertebral and nonvertebral fractures were all reduced compared with placebo infusions. In addition, mortality was reduced in patients who received zoledronic acid.
Recent studies in men with osteoporosis have increasingly reported reductions in incident vertebral fractures with oral or intravenous bisphosphonate therapy, although all studies have been underpowered to detect effects on nonvertebral and hip fracture outcomes. Bisphosphonates have a role as monotherapy, as consolidative therapy after a course of teriparatide therapy, or in combination with testosterone replacement in men with hypogonadism and osteoporosis. Bisphosphonate therapy is validated and important in the treatment of osteoporosis in men.
PMCID: PMC3791089  PMID: 24101947
alendronate; bisphosphonates; hypogonadism; osteoporosis; risedronate; zoledronic acid
15.  Strontium ranelate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: new insights and emerging clinical evidence 
Osteoarthritis is a primary cause of disability and functional incapacity. Pharmacological treatment is currently limited to symptomatic management, and in advanced stages, surgery remains the only solution. The therapeutic armamentarium for osteoarthritis remains poor in treatments with an effect on joint structure, that is, disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs). Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate are the only medications for which some conclusive evidence for a disease-modifying effect is available. Strontium ranelate is currently indicated for the prevention of fracture in severe osteoporosis. Its efficacy and safety as a DMOAD in knee osteoarthritis has recently been explored in the SEKOIA trial, a 3-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Outpatients with knee osteoarthritis, Kellgren and Lawrence grade 2 or 3, and joint space width (JSW) of 2.5–5 mm received strontium ranelate 1 g/day (n = 558) or 2 g/day (n = 566), or placebo (n = 559). This sizable population was aged 62.9 years and had a JSW of 3.50 ± 0.84 mm. Treatment with strontium ranelate led to significantly less progression of knee osteoarthritis: estimates for annual difference in joint space narrowing versus placebo were 0.14 mm [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.05–0.23 mm; p < 0.001] for 1 g/day and 0.10 mm (95% CI 0.02–0.19 mm; p = 0.018) for 2 g/day, with no difference between strontium ranelate groups. Radiological progression was less frequent with strontium ranelate (22% with 1 g/day and 26% with 2 g/day versus 33% with placebo, both p < 0.05), as was radioclinical progression (8% and 7% versus 12%, both p < 0.05). Symptoms also improved with strontium ranelate 2 g/day only in terms of total WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) score (p = 0.045), and its components for pain (p = 0.028) and physical function (p = 0.099). Responder analyses using a range of criteria for symptoms indicated that the effect of strontium ranelate 2 g/day on pain and physical function was clinically meaningful. Strontium ranelate was well tolerated. The observation of both structure and symptom modification with strontium ranelate 2 g/day makes SEKOIA a milestone in osteoarthritis research and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3791090  PMID: 24101948
joint space narrowing; osteoarthritis; strontium ranelate; symptoms; treatment
16.  Ustekinumab in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis: latest findings and clinical potential 
Ustekinumab (UST) is a fully human immunoglobulin G1κ (IgG1κ) monoclonal antibody against common sub-unit p40 of interleukin-12 (IL-12) and interleukin-23 (IL-23). IL-12 and IL-23 are essential components of the Th1 and Th17 inflammatory pathways, respectively, and are the key mediators of psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA), an important systemic inflammatory disorder, has similar pathogenesis to psoriasis. Many of PsA patients do not respond to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor therapy, highlighting the need for additional treatment modalities with distinct mechanisms of action. Also, many patients stop responding to these agents after a certain period of use. A significant number of patients have a recurrent course or a persistent disease process. To meet these challenges a new agent working on different inflammatory aspect of PsA is needed. UST has been demonstrated to be effective, safe on short-term use and convenient in the treatment of plaque psoriasis and PsA. Long-term safety is still a concern. Until recently, the exact role of UST in the management of PsA had not been very clear. This article reviews the mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, safety profile and the clinical potential of UST in patients with PsA. We also discuss the three major trials conducted to show the efficacy and safety of UST in PsA.
PMCID: PMC3791091  PMID: 24101949
Psoriatic arthritis; ustekinumab; psoriasis; PSUMMIT-I
17.  Latest advances in connective tissue disorders 
The connective tissue disorders comprise a number of related conditions that include systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the antiphospholipid (Hughes) syndrome, scleroderma, myositis and Sjögren’s syndrome. They are characterized by autoantibody production and other immune-mediated dysfunction. There are common clinical and serological features with some patients having multiple overlapping connective tissue disorders. The latest advances include new approaches to therapy, including more focused utilization of existing therapies and the introduction of biological therapies in SLE, more precise protocols for assessment of severe disease manifestations such as in interstitial lung disease and pulmonary artery hypertension in scleroderma, new antibodies for disease characterization in myositis and new approaches to patient assessment in Sjögren’s syndrome. B cells have a critical role in most, if not all of these disorders such that B-cell depletion or suppression of B-cell activating cytokines improves disease in many patients. In particular, the introduction of rituximab, a monoclonal antibody targeting the CD20 molecule on B cells, into clinical practice for rheumatoid arthritis and B-cell lymphoma has been a key driver of experimental approaches to therapy in connective tissue disorders. Genetic studies also suggest a role for the innate immune system in disease pathogenesis, suggesting further future targets for biological therapies over the next few years.
PMCID: PMC3728978  PMID: 23904866
new therapies in connective tissue disorders; Myositis specific antibodies; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; antiphospholipid antibody syndrome; Myositis; scleroderma; Sjogren’s syndrome
18.  Biomarkers in systemic lupus erythematosus: challenges and prospects for the future 
The search for lupus biomarkers to diagnose, monitor, stratify, and predict individual response to therapy is currently more intense than ever before. This effort is essential for several reasons. First, epidemic overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis of lupus, even by certified rheumatologists, leads to errors in therapy with concomitant side effects which may be more serious than the disease itself. Second, identification of lupus flares remains as much an art as it is a science. Third, the capacity to stratify patients so as to predict those who will develop specific patterns of organ involvement is not currently possible but would potentially lead to preventive therapeutic strategies. Fourth, only one new drug for the treatment of lupus has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in over 50 years. A major obstacle in this pipeline is the dearth of biomarkers available to prove a patient has responded to an experimental therapeutic intervention. This review will summarize the challenges faced in the discovery and validation of lupus biomarkers, the most promising lupus biomarkers identified to date, and the promise of future directions.
PMCID: PMC3728979  PMID: 23904865
biomarker; lupus; systemic lupus erythematosus; SLE
19.  Clinical experience with intravenous zoledronic acid in the treatment of male osteoporosis: evidence and opinions 
Osteoporosis frequently remains underrecognized and undertreated in men. Most osteoporosis-related fractures could be prevented if men at risk would be diagnosed, treated, and remained compliant with therapy. Bisphosphonates, the mainstay of osteoporosis treatment, are potent antiresorptive agents that inhibit osteoclast activity, suppress in vivo markers of bone turnover, increase bone mineral density, decrease fractures, and likely improve survival in men with osteoporosis. The focus of the article is on intravenous zoledronic acid, which may be a preferable alternative to oral bisphosphonate therapy in patients with cognitive dysfunction, the inability to sit upright, polypharmacy, significant gastrointestinal pathology or suspected medication noncompliance. Zoledronic acid is approved in the United States (US) and European Union (EU) as an annual 5 mg intravenous infusion to treat osteoporosis in men. The zoledronic acid 4 mg intravenous dose has been studied in the prevention of bone loss associated with androgen deprivation therapy. This article reviews the evidence for zoledronic acid, currently the most potent bisphosphonate available for clinical use, and its therapeutic effects in the treatment of men with osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3728980  PMID: 23904863
bisphosphonates; bone mineral density; fracture; men; osteoporosis; zoledronic acid
20.  Odanacatib in postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density: a review of current clinical evidence 
Human bones are in a continuous process of remodeling that ensures renovation and maintenance of the skeletal mass. Bone remodeling has two phases that are normally coupled and balanced: bone resorption mediated by osteoclasts and bone formation mediated by osteoblasts. An increase in bone resorption over bone formation results in a progressive loss of bone mass and impairment of bone microarchitecture leading to osteoporosis and its associated fractures. Recent advances in the understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the remodeling process have allowed the development of new targets for osteoporosis treatment. Cathepsin K, a cysteine protease, is found in osteoclasts along the bone resorption surfaces and very efficiently degrades type I collagen, the major component of the organic bone matrix. Inhibition of cathepsin K reduces bone resorption but does not impair bone formation particularly at cortical sites. Odanacatib, a potent and highly selective cathepsin K inhibitor, showed prevention of bone loss without reduction of bone formation in preclinical and clinical trials (phase I and II). Odanacatib is currently in a phase III fracture outcome international trial for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3728981  PMID: 23904864
animal models; bone demineralization; bone density conservation agents; bone remodeling; cathepsin K; osteoporosis postmenopausal; pathologic
21.  Management of cardiovascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: evidence and expert opinion 
The risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is increased in rheumatoid arthritis. The classical cardiovascular risk factors, including smoking, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus, obesity and physical inactivity do not appear to explain the excess cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis, although they do contribute, albeit in a different way or to a lesser extent, to rheumatoid arthritis in comparison with the general population. A very important link between rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease is inflammation as it plays a key role in all stages of atherosclerosis: from endothelial dysfunction to plaque rupture and thrombosis. It also has an influence on and accentuates some traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as dyslipidaemia, obesity and insulin resistance. To date, the exact pathophysiologic mechanism by which this relation between cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis can be explained is not completely clear. Cardiovascular risk management in rheumatoid arthritis is mandatory. Unfortunately, the way this should be done remains a point of discussion. In this review issues regarding cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis and its management will be addressed, according to evidence presented in the latest studies and our own experience-based opinion.
PMCID: PMC3728982  PMID: 23904862
cardiovascular risk; cardiovascular risk management; inflammation; rheumatoid arthritis
23.  Bisphosphonate drug holiday: who, when and how long 
Bisphosphonates have been widely used in the treatment of osteoporosis with robust data from numerous placebo-controlled trials demonstrating efficacy in fracture risk reduction over 3–5 years of treatment. Although bisphosphonates are generally safe and well tolerated, concerns have emerged about adverse effects related to long-term use. For most patients with osteoporosis, the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks. Because these agents accumulate in bone with some persistent antifracture efficacy after therapy is stopped, it is reasonable to consider a ‘drug holiday.’ There is considerable controversy regarding the optimal duration of therapy and the length of the holiday, both of which should be based on individual assessments of risk and benefit.
PMCID: PMC3707342  PMID: 23858334
bisphosphonates; drug holidays; fractures; osteoporosis
24.  A review on strontium ranelate long-term antifracture efficacy in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis 
Osteoporotic fractures are one of the major causes of increased morbidity and mortality in postmenopausal women and the overall aging population. One of the major issues in the management of postmenopausal osteoporosis is to find a safe and effective treatment in the long term (>3 years) to achieve and maintain a reduction in the risk of fracture. Strontium ranelate (PROTELOS®) is a relatively novel drug, currently approved in Europe for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Strontium ranelate is the first agent of a new therapeutic class in osteoporosis, capable of both promoting bone formation and, to a lesser extent, inhibiting bone resorption. This uncoupling in bone turnover results in a net gain in bone mineral density (BMD), bone quality improvement and reduction in risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures, as initially demonstrated in the preplanned long-term registrative trials SOTI (Spinal Osteoporosis Therapeutic Intervention) and TROPOS (Treatment of Peripheral Osteoporosis) at 5 years. Recently, open-label extensions of the SOTI and TROPOS trials up to 8 and, recently, 10 years have confirmed the sustained efficacy of strontium ranelate in increasing BMD, the long-term safety profile and the high compliance to treatment, independently from baseline BMD or other risk factors for osteoporotic fractures. Recent economic impact analyses have proved that long-term treatment with strontium ranelate is highly cost effective, especially in women older than 70 years of age. Histomorphometric analyses in animals and humans participating in the phase III trials have proved that the quality of mineralization is preserved in the long term and bone microarchitecture is ameliorated, with increased bone strength. Thus, strontium ranelate has been confirmed to be an effective compound for the long-term, chronic treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3707343  PMID: 23858336
anabolic; antiresorptive; bone formation; bone mineral density; bone resorption; mineralization; safety; tolerability
25.  Milnacipran combined with pregabalin in fibromyalgia: a randomized, open-label study evaluating the safety and efficacy of adding milnacipran in patients with incomplete response to pregabalin 
To evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of adding milnacipran to pregabalin in patients with fibromyalgia who have experienced an incomplete response to pregabalin.
In this randomized, multicenter, open-label study, patients received pregabalin 300 or 450 mg/day during a 4- to 12-week run-in period. Patients with weekly recall visual analog scale (VAS) pain score of at least 40 and up to 90, Patient Global Impression of Severity score of at least 4, and Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) score of at least 3 were classified as incomplete responders and randomized to continue pregabalin alone (n = 180) or receive milnacipran 100 mg/day added to pregabalin (n = 184). The primary efficacy parameter was responder status based on PGIC score of up to 2. The secondary efficacy parameter was change from randomization in weekly recall VAS pain score. Safety parameters included adverse events (AEs), vital signs, and clinical laboratory tests.
The percentage of PGIC responders was significantly higher with milnacipran added to pregabalin (46.4%) than with pregabalin alone (20.8%; p < 0.001). Mean improvement from randomization in weekly recall VAS pain scores was greater in patients receiving milnacipran added to pregabalin (−20.77) than in patients receiving pregabalin alone (−6.43; p < 0.001). During the run-in period, the most common treatment-emergent AEs with pregabalin were dizziness (22.8%), somnolence (17.3%), and fatigue (9.1%). During the randomized period, the most common treatment-emergent AEs with milnacipran added to pregabalin were nausea (12.5%), fatigue (10.3%), and constipation (9.8%).
In this exploratory, open-label study, adding milnacipran to pregabalin improved global status, pain, and other symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia with an incomplete response to pregabalin treatment.
PMCID: PMC3707344  PMID: 23858335
clinical trials; fibromyalgia; milnacipran; pain; pregabalin

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