Highly Anticipated Lupus Drug Fails Phase Three Trials

As originally reported in The Rheumotologist, phase three trials for new lupus medicine have failed, disappointing the community that had high hopes for the drug anifrolumab. The community knows the feeling, the many experiments that have taken place over the last decade have led to a series of disappointments, without any improvements since a drug in 2011 became the current norm. Lupus is unusual in its research because experimenters have been trialing a wide range of treatments options, rather than having many varieties of a similar approach. This drug was particularly expected to be impactful.

What is Lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system instead attacks the body rather than aiding it. This presents symptoms such as fatigue, fever, pain, rashes, and headaches. This causes inflammation in any given organ or tissue, whether that be kidneys, the brain, heart, skin, or cells. It often is difficult to spot because it is mistaken for another disease, with symptoms often resembling other ailments. Additionally, Lupus always appears differently in different patients, each with their own distinct form of the disease. This also makes treatment particularly difficult, as the symptoms are very dependent on what part of the body is ailed.

Lupus treatment methods

One difficulty when it comes to experimentation with Lupus medication is that patients are often already using other methods and therapies and thus it’s difficult to separate what is responsible for what. It’s additionally often difficult to extract what symptoms are due to lupus and to measure them. It is a very complex disease and thus can effect many areas of the body, though it’s difficult to identify if it’s the lupus causing ailment.

While this medication has disappointed the lupus community, more research and options offer hope.


By Sunniva Bean

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