In early July of this year, the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that the FDA approved of their new treatment, called abatacept (Orencia), either intravenously or subcutaneously. This drug is used to treat patients with active and resistant psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
Brian J. Gavin, Vice President, and Orencia development lead at Bristol-Myers is excited about this new treatment because the psoriatic arthritis community is lacking sufficient therapy options. He believes that this latest FDA approval of abatacept (Orencia) helps prove the overall efficacy of the drug.
Furthermore, Gavin points out,
“Helping to advance clinical understanding of autoimmune conditions is a key focus of our immunoscience research, and we’re proud to introduce Orencia, a selective T-cell co-stimulation modulator, as an additional treatment option for PsA.”
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that develops in 30% of people who have psoriasis. This type of arthritis is often associated with swelling, stiffness and pain around the joints. Additionally, many psoriatic arthritis patients experience general fatigue.
Psoriatic arthritis can develop slowly with mild symptoms, and other times it can be severe and quick. The most important thing a patient can do is get diagnosed early, so the condition can be fixed early on. To learn more about the symptoms and potential treatments of psoriatic arthritis, read this.
Since we know that psoriatic arthritis is caused by T-cell activation, which attacks the skin as well as the joints, the abatacept treatment works by impeding that same T-cell activation. In addition, abatacept targets the inflammation that is also associated with psoriatic arthritis, thus working to treat the disease from the inside, out.
Following this approval, the president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation, Randy Beranek, is hopeful about the future of psoriatic arthritis treatments. He notes that any advancement, further research, or support can critically help improve the quality of life for those that are impacted by psoriatic arthritis.
FDA approval came after a phase II clinical trial found that severe psoriatic arthritis patients that were treated with abatacept (Orencia) saw a reduction in overall disease activity. These patients had a higher level disease activity to begin with, characterized by extremely swollen, inflamed, and tender joints, and they also reported having the disease for longer than seven years.
Thus, abatacept (Orencia) is also a great option for patients who have already tried separate treatments, even if it was a different TNF inhibitor, describes Philip Mease, MD, a clinical professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and director of the Rheumatology Clinical Research Division of Swedish Medical Center.
However, along with the FDA approval of abatacept (Orencia), the Bristol-Myers pharmaceutical company warns patients that they should not use this treatment along with a TNF antagonist nor should they use it alongside other biologic rheumatoid arthritis treatments.