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
You share your body with trillions of microbes – many of them beneficial bacteria living in your intestinal tract. Collectively called the microbiome, these bugs influence health and disease through complex interactions with your immune system. Often, their role is protective, guarding against pathogens and inflammation. But increasingly strong evidence suggests that disruptions in the microbial ecosystem may cause or contribute to many chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Jose Scher, MD, a rheumatologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, studies the connection between intestinal bugs and arthritis. He thinks the overgrowth of normally benign bacteria called Prevotella – which are far more abundant in people with untreated RA – may trigger an inflammatory response that targets the joints. It’s also possible Prevotella crowds out beneficial bacteria that keep inflammation in check. Either way, Scher is confident there’s a connection between the microbiome and arthritis.
Continue reading Gut Bacteria: A Potential Game Changer for Rheumatoid Arthritis