You see them from the corner of your eye, standing with a kyphosis in the waiting room. They are filling out their paperwork, standing up because sitting is just not pleasant. You are the rheumatologist with an interest in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and spondyloarthritis, so more likely than not, the patient with the bent spine is going to be your next new patient. In the back of your mind you are hoping that they are not so far along so that the therapy you may prescribe can make a difference in their life.
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 Health Assessment Questionnaire is a utilitarian outcome measure, often used in clinical trials and daily practice. Unless you’re still prescribing penacillamine, never attended an ACR meeting, and never read an RA clinical trial, you’re quite familiar with the HAQ and its use in practice. So, surely you’ve heard of the “Brooklyn HAQ”?
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.
A new subspecialty may emerge. New drugs will be approved (but it will be difficult for patients to get coverage for them). And an American team will win the World Series. All these and more: here are predictions for 2017 and beyond from rheumatologists across the country and around the world.