Olokizumab Shows Promise for Rheumatoid Arthritis

How is rheumatoid arthritis treated? Currently, the “gold standard” – referring to one of the most effective therapeutic methods – is a combination of methotrexate and adalimumab. This treatment is particularly effective for those who do not respond well to methotrexate alone. However, up to one-quarter of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis still fail to respond to available treatments. However, shares Medical XPress, a new therapeutic option may be on the horizon: olokizumab. 

A Phase 3 clinical trial evaluated olokizumab, in conjunction with methotrexate, for those with rheumatoid arthritis. More than 1,600 participants enrolled in the study. According to the data, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers sought to understand whether this combination was more effective than both a placebo and the current “gold standard.” 

The research found that olokizumab and methotrexate helped to reduce symptoms, such as swollen and tender joints. Additionally, this combination was found to be as effective as the current “gold standard.” This is extremely promising news for those whose condition has not responded well to prior treatment. Doctors are excited at the prospect of being able to provide additional and better care to patients. 

Moving forward, the drug developer seeks EU and US approval within the next year.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that affects joints throughout the body, including in the hands and feet. In RA, the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, or the joint lining, causing pain and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in those of older ages, as well as 2-3x more common in females than in males. Unfortunately, the course of this disorder is variable and difficult to predict. For some, their condition may stagnate and plateau; for others, it progresses slowly over time. Symptoms can, but do not always, include:

  • Joint, back, or muscle pain
  • Fatigue and/or general malaise
  • Bumps or swelling on the fingers
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • “Pins and needles” sensations
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Joint stiffness, inflammation, weakness, or tenderness
  • Bone erosion
  • Joint deformities
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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