Today, there are a wide range of new medications that have dramatically improved the quality of life and long term outlook for arthritis patients, but researchers have discovered a problem with their research.
When arthritis drugs are tested, more than 90% of the test subjects are white, so doctors know how the drugs work in whites, but now, they're finding out when other ethnic groups try the same drugs there are ethnic differences in how people respond to drugs.
"Between Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic patients that we see there are differences in disease presentation where their functional levels, their pain levels, their swollen joints, the numbers, and the areas involved are different from one another," says Dr. Yusef Yazici of Long Island College Hospital.
For example, Long Island researchers have found that Hispanics tend to have more pain with arthritis, but they do respond to therapy while African-Americans are more difficult to treat and more likely to be disabled from the disease.
The bottom line for doctors, there's not one size fits all in treating arthritis, and for the best results, race should be taken into account.