INTRODUCTION Minocycline and doxycycline are safe and moderately effective disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in the treatment of early, DMARD-naïve rheumatoid arthritis (RA), although little is known about their use outside clinical trials. We characterize the use of minocycline and doxycycline in community-dwelling RA patients by examining associated prescribing patterns, patient-level determinants of use, and side-effect profiles. OBJECTIVE To compare the efficacy of doxycycline plus methotrexate (MTX) versus MTX alone in the treatment of early seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and to attempt to differentiate the antibacterial and antimetalloproteinase effects of doxycycline.
A new study adds support to the idea that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is triggered by the immune system battling an infection. This support surprisingly comes from a study showing that antibiotics were not helpful for treating symptoms of the more common “wear and tear” arthritis (called osteoarthritis)1. Earlier research showed that tetracycline antibiotics (e.g., minocycline or doxycycline 100 mg twice daily) had a marked effect on decreasing the symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, because these antibiotics are dirt cheap ― about $5 per month (they are no longer under patent) ― as compared to newer treatments which often cost about $1,500 per month, there is little financial motivation to get the information to physicians about the use of antibiotics for rheumatoid arthritis. When the studies first came out, many physicians ignored it by saying they thought it was because of the antibiotics having an anti-inflammatory effect instead of there being an infection (who cares — it helped and was safe! As is often the case when a treatment used by holistic doctors is shown to work, the research is simply ignored. The Standard Approach to RA Treatment Often people continue to have problems despite these aggressive therapies. Natural and Holistic Medicine Alternatives Many natural remedies are very helpful for rheumatoid arthritis, including adopting a vegetarian or Mediterranean diet, cutting down on sugar intake, exercising (as approved by your physician), taking ginger and taking a good multivitamin. In this article, however, I'll look at antibiotics ― which holistic physicians have recommended for RA for over 40 years. Thomas Mc Pherson Brown and a book about Brown’s lifetime of research. Minocycline is an antibiotic in the tetracycline family. It’s been used for more than 30 years to combat a wide range of infections. More recently, researchers have demonstrated its anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and neuroprotective properties. Since the late 1960s, some rheumatologists have successfully used tetracyclines for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). As new classes of drugs became available, minocycline use declined. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use with RA. At the same time, many controlled research studies showed that minocycline was beneficial for RA. It’s occasionally prescribed “off-label.”Despite its beneficial results in trials, minocycline generally isn’t used to treat RA today. Off-label drug use means that a drug that’s been approved by the FDA for one purpose is used for a different purpose that hasn’t been approved. However, a doctor can still use the drug for that purpose.
Preliminary evidence from experimental animal models has suggested that doxycycline may be effective in preventing or slowing the progression of osteoarthritis (OA), perhaps through its ability to modulate the activity of cartilage-degrading matrix metalloproteases (MMPs). Despite this encouraging animal evidence, no studies have investigated doxycycline in humans with, or at risk for, OA. Here, Brandt et al (Arthritis Rheum 2005;52(7): 2015) examine the potential for doxycycline to slow the progression of unilateral knee OA in obese women. Obese women 45 to 64 years of age with radiographic evidence of moderate (K/L grade 2 or 3) unilateral knee OA were randomized to receive doxycycline 100 mg twice daily or matched placebo for 30 months. Adherence was assessed via electronic monitors affixed to the study drug containers. The primary outcome measure was the change in joint space width (JSW) in the medial tibiofemoral compartment for both the index and contralateral knees. JSW was measured via fluoroscopically positioned semi-flexed radiographs of the knees, obtained at baseline, 16 and 30 months. Many different infections, such as mycoplasma and Lyme disease, cause arthritis and can be treated with antibiotics, such as the tetracyclines. Recent issues of Arthritis and Rheumatism (December 1994) and Annals of Internal Medicine (January 1995) show that tetracyclines may help treat arthritis that is not caused by infection. Researchers at Long Island Jewish Medical Center showed that tetracycline antibiotics help to reduce the joint damage caused by osteoarthritis. Researchers at Indiana University showed that doxycycline, a type of tetracycline, prevents joint damage in dogs. The cells in the cartilage that lines joints are always changing. While some cells come out of cartilage, others go in. An enzyme called collagenase causes cells to come out of cartilage, and people with the most common type of arthritis called osteoarthritis have higher than normal joint fluid levels of collagenase.
Can antibiotics really help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis? Find out what research shows about antibiotics possibly helping control the disease. Minocycline and doxycycline are safe and moderately effective disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs DMARDs in the treatment of early, DMARD-naïve rheumatoid.