In a nutshell
This study investigated if baricitinib is a safe and effective medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
They found that baricitinib improved disease symptoms and was well-tolerated over a 128-week period.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory condition. In RA there is an increase in factors that cause inflammation and pain in the joints. These factors are called cytokines. Cytokines exert their effects by signaling through various pathways within the cell. Drugs have been developed to inhibit the activation of these pathways. Baricitinib is a drug that inhibits the Janus kinase (JAK) pathway.
Studies in small groups of patients have shown that baricitinib is effective and safe in treating RA in combination with other standard medications. The long-term safety is under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study reports the results of treatment with baricitinib over a 128-week period. 133 patients were included in this study. Patients were diagnosed with RA and receiving methotrexate as standard treatment. They were randomly assigned to receive placebo (inactive drug) or 1-8 mg of baricitinib for the initial 24 weeks. Following this, the study was extended for a further 104 weeks.
After 24 weeks, patients receiving 4 mg or 8 mg baricitinib had improved scores in the American College of Rheumatology 20% (ACR20) response. Following 128 weeks of treatment with baricitinib the effectiveness observed at 24 weeks was maintained. Some adverse events were recorded in first 24 weeks, but the frequency of adverse events did not increase over the additional 104 weeks.
The bottom line
This study concluded that baricitinib is a safe and effective medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
The fine print
The number of participants that opted to undergo an additional 104 weeks of treatment were more likely to have benefited from the treatment during the initial 24 weeks. This may have biased the effects observed long-term.
If you have any concerns regarding rheumatoid arthritis treatment, please discuss this with your doctor.
Published By :
The Journal of Rheumatology
Aug 15, 2017
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