Pharmaceutical International News - June 2012
RoActemra Arthritis Treatment Drug Comes Out on Top
Posted by Pharmaceutical International Editorial on 21/06/2012 - 06:00:00
Rheumatoid arthritis affects over 646,000 people in the UK and around half will be unable to work through disability within ten years. The auto-immune disease typically occurs in joints such as hands, wrists or knees and often starts between the ages of 35 and 45, with women three times more likely to develop the condition. The total direct and indirect cost of RA in the UK is approximately £4.75bn each year.
Methotrexate (MTX) is the most widely prescribed first line treatment for patients living with significant rheumatoid arthritis the UK. However, if this drug does not improve their condition patients may also be given a biological drug to help manage the disease - either as a monotherapy or in combination with MTX. But of the 46,000 RA patients treated with a biological drug, 30% withdraw from using methotrexate because they are unable to tolerate the drug or have an inadequate response. Of those who are intolerant to MTX, the side-effects, including nausea and vomiting, can be debilitating.
RoActemra Arthritis Treatment Drug
The results of the ADACTA study (ADalimumab ACTemrA), which compared two active biologics as monotherapies with 326 methotrexate intolerant patients, including trial centres in Leeds, Whipps Cross, Newcastle, Poole and Cannock, show RoActemra's (tocilizumab) superior efficacy over the most widely prescribed anti TNF, Humira (adalimumab), offering an alternative treatment option for those RA patients unable to take the current mainstay treatment of MTX.
Patients treated with RoActemra also achieved a significantly greater reduction in their disease symptoms after six months, which includes painful joint swelling and difficulty in completing everyday tasks. The study met its primary endpoint with patients achieving significantly greater reduction in disease activity (-3.3) than with adalimumab (-1.8) over a 24 week period as assessed by the mean change in DAS28, the gold standard in RA disease measurement.
RA is the result of excessive Interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptors in the body that cause white blood cells to work too hard and attack the body, resulting in symptoms commonly associated with the disease: joint inflammation and destruction as well anaemia and fatigue. RoActemra (tocilizumab) is designed to block the action of the IL-6, and is the only medicine to do so. RoActemra is not without side-effects and elevated blood pressure, upper respiratory tract infection and headaches were reported during the clinical trials.
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