New Drug Approved by the FDA for Ankylosing Spondylitis

According to a story from Markets Insider, Eli Lilly and Company recently announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the company’s drug ixekizumab (marketed as Taltz®) in an 80 mg injectable form for adult patients with active ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory, arthritic disease. This will mark the third approval for the drug, which is also used to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

About Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis which is characterized by long term inflammation of the spinal joints. Other joints may also be affected. The precise cause of ankylosing spondylitis has not been identified. A host of environmental and genetic factors may play a role; for example, a study found that the majority of patients in the UK presented with the HLA-B27 antigen. The onset of ankylosing spondylitis symptoms often begins in early adulthood. These symptoms may include relapsing/remitting back pain, progressive joint stiffening, fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Inflammation can spread to other parts of the body, such as the eyes, the cardiovascular system, and lungs. No cure for the disease exists, so treatment focuses on pain management and slowing disease progression. Treatment may include NSAIDs, opioids, TNF inhibitors, physical therapy, surgery, and some others. Unfortunately, most therapies can cause serious side effects with long term use. To learn more about ankylosing spondylitis, click here.

About Ixekizumab (Taltz)

The drug is intended to be used in patients who are actively experiencing symptoms and need rapid relief. This is in contrast to medications that are designed to keep patients’ disease in a remitted, inactive state. Taltz can be used to treat the disease either on its own or in combination with some other medications, such as NSAIDS, steroids, or disease modifying antirheumatic drugs. The drug still carries the risk of certain side effects, such as increased infection risk.

The approval will give ankylosing spondylitis patients a new treatment option that can be important if a patient fails to respond to a different drug. Clinical trials successfully demonstrated Taltz’s ability to relieve inflammation and pain and restore functionality in comparison to placebo. 

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