Rheumatoid Arthritis Ra Prosorba Column

In 1999 the FDA approved the use of the prosorba column to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. The technique separates blood cells from inflammation-causing antibodies. Clinical trials report that 30 to 40 percent of participants experienced improved symptoms after using the prosorba technique.

How the Prosorba Column Works

A prosorba column is a small plastic cylinder containing a sandy material coated with protein A (prosorba is short for protein A immunoadsorption). Blood is drawn from the patient’s arm and sent through a cell separator machine, which separates blood cells from the plasma. The separated plasma then travels through the prosorba column, where the protein A binds to the antibodies in the plasma, effectively removing them. The plasma, cleansed of antibodies, is then recombined with the separated blood cells and returned to the body through the patient’s other arm.

Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers benefit from the technique because antibodies that cause inflammation are removed from the system. Unfortunately, the procedure is both costly and time-consuming. Therapy takes two hours once a week for twelve weeks.

Side Effects of the Prosorba Column

The technique doesn’t have many side effects, but it is very common to feel tired after the procedure. A temporary drop in blood pressure is possible, and may require the treatment be adapted to the individual. Although rare, flu-like symptoms may be felt during therapy. Patients should report nausea, chills, mild fevers and joint or muscle pain to your doctor.

Is This Therapy Right for You?

The prosorba column has been tested only for short-term safety and efficacy. The long-term effects of this treatment method for rheumatoid arthritis have not yet been determined, so it is recommended that this method of treatment be used only when more conventional treatment options (NSAIDs and DMARDs) have failed.

Before you consider starting the therapy, talk about possible problems with your doctor. Blood disorders, including blood clotting disorders, strokes or hypertension should be reported to your doctor before trying the technique. Any history of heart attacks should also be reported.

People taking ACE inhibitors to treat hypertension or heart conditions should not try this form of therapy while on the medication. Doctors recommend not taking ACE inhibitors for 72 hours before undergoing prosorba therapy. The technique has not been tested on pregnant women yet, nor has it been used to treat young children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.


Arthritis Foundation. (updated 2004). Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

ArthritisInsight.com. (updated 2001). Prosorba column.

National Library of Medicine. (updated 2004). Rheumatoid arthritis. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.