A new drug is helping those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who respond poorly to other treatments.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects roughly 300,000 Canadians and is associated with higher rates of illness and premature death.

But currently, less than half of those patients will get sustained remission from their symptoms for more than a year.

Ellen Foster has been living with the illness for more than 30 years, and says for the first 16 years after she was diagnosed she was treatment resistant.

"It was a matter of trial and error and this didn’t work and side effects, so yeah it was devastating for the most part."

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and that means your body is attacking the lining of your joints, and Dr. Janet Pope says most medications seem to stop working after a period of time.

But with drug therapy research and a newly approved drug called Olumiant, Pope is hopeful for an improvement.

It has shown a reduction of signs and symptoms of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients like Foster who have responded poorly to other treatments.