People with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who haven’t responded well to one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor medications now have a new option. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved baricitinib (Olumiant), a pill that is taken once a day.
Baricitinib is a targeted disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) that blocks Janus kinase (JAK), a group of enzymes that enable inflammatory signals to be activated inside a cell. It’s the second in this class of drug to hit the market for the treatment of RA; tofacitinib (Xeljanz) was the first, approved in 2012.
“It’s not a biologic but a ‘small molecule,’ or oral, targeted agent, that is highly effective in treating the signs and symptoms of RA,” explains Paul Howard, MD, a rheumatologist in Scottsdale, AZ. It is expected to be significantly cheaper than biologic medications. Continue reading FDA Approves a New Oral Drug for Moderate to Severe RA
Keep up-to-date on the latest rheumatoid arthritis (RA) research with our brief research summaries.
Tofacitinib Plus Methotrexate May Work As Well As Biologic
If methotrexate (MTX) alone fails to control RA, adding the oral Janus kinase (JAX) inhibitor tofacitinib (Xeljanz) may be as effective as the standard practice of adding a biologic. The JAX inhibitor belongs to the third category of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) called targeted DMARDs. In a study of 1,146 patients with rheumatoid arthritis that had not adequately responded to MTX alone, approximately a third were switched to tofacitinib, while the others received either tofacitinib or the biologic adalimumab (Humira) along with methotrexate. At 6 months, only 38% of the patients receiving tofacitinib monotherapy achieved ACR50 – 50 percent improvement – while 46% of patients that received tofacitinib and MTX achieved that response. Forty-four percent of patients who combined adalimubab with MTX achieved the similar improved response of the tofacitnib and MTX group.
SOURCE: The Lancet, July 2017 Continue reading RA Research Briefs: Tofacitinib, Fish, Remission
For some women with RA, pregnancy brings on an unexpected bonus: improved symptoms. Approximately 70% of women with RA experience improved symptoms in the second trimester that can last through the first 6 weeks after delivery, says J. Bruce Smith, MD, assistant compliance officer for research at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a rheumatologist whose research has focused largely on autoimmune disease and pregnancy.
Continue reading Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares: The Ups and Downs of Pregnancy