Improving the standard of rheumatology care in Europe
EULAR 2006 Congress opens with core recommendations across key disease areasThe Annual European Congress of Rheumatology commenced today with a comprehensive set of recommendations which aim to clarify treatment options for a range of debilitating rheumatic conditions. Following a rigorous development process involving numerous multidisciplinary experts across Europe, recommendations for the management of hand osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and fibromyalgia have been proposed for endorsement by EULAR (The European League Against Rheumatism), along with recommendations for conducting clinical trials in SLE and systemic vasculitis.
Professor Tore Kvien, EULAR president, stated: "The EULAR executive place great importance on the need to provide recommendations regarding management strategies for rheumatic diseases in order to encourage the best standard of care across the whole continent. The processes we require for endorsement are based on strict criteria and rely on the best available evidence".
EULAR will consider a range of research initiatives under its endorsement programme, which is led by the EULAR standing committees and governed by a set of published standardised operating procedures1. Topics include management of musculoskeletal disorders, conducting clinical trials, use of specific tools (e.g. bone densitometry, ultrasonography) and even classification or diagnostic criteria. Recommendations already endorsed by EULAR in recent years include management considerations for knee osteoarthritis, hip osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, early arthritis and the management and diagnosis of gout.
Professor Maxime Dougados, MD, Professor of Rheumatology at the Universite Rene Descartes, Paris and Chair of the EULAR Standing Committee on International Clinical Studies Including Therapeutic Trials, said that the latest recommendations were accepted for consideration by EULAR for a variety of reasons, but that all were very relevant issues in daily practice and would be of great value to European health care professionals and, ultimately, for patients. He said: "For a disease such as lupus it is evident that many different physicians are involved in treating these patients and this may inevitably lead to variety in practice. In other areas such as fibromyalgia, which has a relatively high prevalence at 4% of the population, the strength of evidence is perhaps not as robust as it could be. Whether pharmacological or non-pharmacological intervention is involved, in all of these areas there is a clear need for reinforcement of best practice, including simple guidance on effective treatment, which can be easily accessed by busy professionals".
All current recommendations will be presented at the opening session of the EULAR scientific programme on Wednesday 21st June in the State-of-the-Art/Best Practice stream. The EULAR standing committee is expected to ratify the recommendations by end of June 2006.
1. Dougados M et al. EULAR standardised operating procedures for the elaboration, evaluation, dissemination, and implementation of recommendations endorsed by the EULAR standing committees. Ann Rheum Dis. 2004 Sep;63(9):1172-6
For further information about this story, or to request an interview with one of the abstract leads or a EULAR representative, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress press office on:-
Jim Baxter - Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7900 605652
Jo Spadaccino - Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7773 271930
Mia Gannedahl - Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7331 2325
Abstract numbers: SP0002, SP0003, SP0004, SP0005
- The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is the organization which represents the patient, health professional and scientific societies of rheumatology of all the European nations.
- The aims of EULAR are to reduce the burden of rheumatic diseases on the individual and society and to improve the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal diseases. To this end, EULAR fosters excellence in education and research in the field of rheumatology. It promotes the translation of research advances into daily care and fights for the recognition of the needs of people with musculoskeletal diseases by the governing bodies in Europe.
- Diseases of bones and joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis cause disability in 4 - 5 % of the adult population and are predicted to rise as people live longer.
- As new treatments emerge and cellular mechanisms are discovered, the 7th Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Amsterdam (EULAR 2006) brings together more than 10,000 experts - scientists, clinicians, healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies and patients - to share their knowledge in a global endeavour to challenge the pain and disability caused by musculo-skeletal disorders.
- To find out more information about the activities of EULAR, visit: www.eular.org.
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