What is RA/ILD?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that occurs when the body’s own immune system, which normally protects from infection, attacks the joints, causing pain, stiffness and swelling. The chronic injury causes damage and deformity of the joints. It most commonly affects the small joints in the hands, elbows, ankles, and knees. However, rheumatoid arthritis can involve other organs in the body, including the lungs. Other symptoms include low grade fever and lack of energy. This disease affects approximately 1.4 million people in the US, most of them women over 30.
Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
Interstitial Lung Disease includes a group of disorders that cause injury and, sometimes, progressive and irreversible scarring of the lungs. That injury can lead to shortness of breath and dry cough.
ILD can be caused by many environmental or work exposures such as asbestos and silica. Certain medications such as amiodarone and some chemotherapy drugs can also lead to ILD. However, ILD can also be a consequence of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
ILD is diagnosed when a person has symptoms like dry cough and shortness of breath that aren’t going away. A special test called a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the chest is done to see the pattern of changes in the lung which can include inflammation and scarring (fibrosis). Breathing tests, called pulmonary function tests (PFTs), and measures of oxygen levels in the blood are also helpful.
“To explore effective and innovative treatments for patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis-Associated Interstitial Lung Disease”
Pirfenidone was approved by the FDA in 2014 to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). This disease is different from RA-ILD. However, research by many groups has suggested enough similarities to ask a few questions. Now we’re ready to find out if this drug is effective for patients with RA-ILD.
If you’re a non-smoker with interstitial lung disease and rheumatoid arthritis, you may be able to help us discover a new treatment for patients just like you.
Find your nearest study site and introduce yourself!