FDA approves new rheumatoid arthritis medication


November 8, 2012

Topic: orthopaedic research

Research shows doctors how to monitor RA

On Nov. 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) called Xeljanx (tofacitnib). Orthopaedic research has shown that this medication may be especially beneficial for patients who experience moderate to severe symptoms.

RA is a condition in which the joint lining swells and invades the surrounding tissue, while producing a chemical substance that attacks and destroys the joints' surface, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Although RA is not inherited, scientists hypothesize that it may be the result of a gene that, at some point, can be activated by an external trigger.

Currently, there are approximately 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. who have RA, according to the FDA. These patients may benefit from taking Xeljanx twice per day, as it blocks the molecules that cause joint inflammation. Seven clinical trials were previously conducted to test the drug's effectiveness, and all patients saw improvement in their condition.

"Xeljanz provides a new treatment option for adults suffering from the debilitating disease of RA who have had a poor response to methotrexate," said Badrul Chowdhury, M.D., Ph.D.

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