In a nutshell
This study investigated if the use of glucocorticoids during tofacitinib (Xeljanz) treatment has an impact on its ability to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
They found that glucocorticoids did not negatively impact the effects of tofacitinib in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that leads to painful swelling and inflammation in the joints. It is a chronic (long-term) condition that requires medication to reduce inflammation. Patients may require multiple drugs that act in different ways to address these symptoms.
Tofacitinib is a therapy that inhibits an enzyme called Janus kinase. This prevents the body from producing excessive amounts of chemical messengers called cytokines that in turn cause inflammation. Tofacitinib is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). DMARDs are useful in treating RA, however the effects are not immediate. Patients may also be prescribed glucocorticoid drugs – fast-acting medication that suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Methods & findings
This study investigated if the use of glucocorticoids has an impact on the effectiveness of tofacitinib in patients with RA.
This study included data from 6 clinical trials including 4,067 patients with RA. In these studies patients were receiving both glucocorticoids and tofacitinib or another DMARD, or placebo (substance with no active effect). The data was analyzed at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months using disease activity scores and radiological (x-ray) assessment of the joints.
55.2% of patients received tofacitinib and glucocorticoid treatment. Glucocorticoid use did not affect the effectiveness of tofacitinib on lowering disease activity, pain and radiological evidence of the condition.
The bottom line
This study concluded that glucocorticoids did not negatively impact the effects of tofacitinib in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
The fine print
This study was retrospective and the design and environment varied between the 6 trials. This could cause some variability.
If you have any concerns regarding rheumatoid arthritis treatment, please consult your physician.
Published By :
The Journal of Rheumatology
Nov 15, 2017
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