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Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Rheumatoid Arthritis | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated if tofacitinib improves atherosclerosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. They found that tofacitinib improved disease activity and atherosclerosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Some background

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an increased risk of cardiovascular (heart and circulatory system) disease. Atherosclerosis is a condition that causes blockage of the arteries. This blockage is caused by a plaque that builds up on the artery walls and hardens over time. It is made up of a number of substances including fats and cholesterol.

Tofacitinib (Tofa) is a drug to treat RA. It works by blocking the activity of the Janus kinase (JAK, a protein) pathway, which is thought to contribute to inflammation in RA.  JAK may also contribute to vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.

Methods & findings

This study examined if tofacinitib improved atherosclerosis in patients with RA.

56 patients with RA were included in this study. Patients were administered with Tofa (5 mg twice daily) for 54 weeks. To assess atherosclerosis, the thickness of the carotid artery (carotid intima-media thickness, CIMT) was measured before and after Tofa treatment. Other vascular parameters were also measured.

CIMT did not change from baseline to 54 weeks. The 12 patients that exhibited atherosclerosis at baseline had a reduced CIMT after 54 weeks of treatment. There was no change in the size of atherosclerotic plaques over 54 weeks.

The bottom line

This study concluded that tofacitinib improved atherosclerosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

The fine print

There was no control group (inactive drug) in this study. The number of patients was small and only 12 patients had atherosclerosis. Larger controlled studies are needed.

What’s next?

If you have any concerns regarding atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, please discuss with your doctor.

Published By :

Rheumatology International

Date :

Oct 14, 2017

Original Title :

Tofacitinib improves atherosclerosis despite up-regulating serum cholesterol in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: a cohort study.

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