Arthritis drugs are designed to bring relief to people suffering from a chronic condition. As such competition in that field of medical research is intense.
Reuters is reporting that Roche announced Wednesday that a trial had shown its rheumatoid arthritis drug, RoActemra, performed better in reducing swelling and tenderness in joints than top competitor Abbott Laboratories‘ top-selling Humira when given as a single treatment.
Humira, one of the world’s best selling medicines according to MSNBC, is facing competition from various other therapies, including a pill being developed by Pfizer. For now though, Humira is banking about $8 billion per year.
Roche’s arthritis drug, which has been approved in United States and Europe for use in patients who are either intolerant to or have failed to respond to other medicines,
According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, RoActemra is a biologic drug that blocks the effects of a cytokine (a substance released by the body during inflammation) called interleukin-6 (IL-6). IL-6 is one of the main causes of inflammation and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis as well as contributing to the fatigue and anemia that many patients suffer.
The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) also reports that at this time, there is no test to know which of several available biologic drugs will work best for each patient, and stresses the need to work a rheumatologist.
The NRAS reports that RoActemra is usually administered through a monthly infusion (drip) at a hospital where patients get their usual care.
Reuters stated that the results of the 24-week study of 326 patients, will be presented on June 8 at the European League Against Rheumatism meeting in Berlin, and adds that about one percent of the world’s adult population has rheumatoid arthritis, a potentially crippling condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the joints. As medical science improves, patients and doctors are hopeful more arthritis drugs can be created to treat the condition.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. James Heilman via WikiMedia Commons)