Xeljanz Effective in TNF Inhibitor Resistant Psoriatic Arthritis

R&AConnection News: According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine report, the results of a clinical trial have demonstrated that Xeljanz (tofacitinib) is effective for the treatment of active psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in patients who previously failed to respond to tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) therapies.

About Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that stems from psoriasis, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the skin, resulting in scaly, red patches on the skin. In some psoriasis patients, the immune system attacks the joints as well, leading to inflammation and the condition known as psoriatic arthritis, or PsA. Symptoms of PsA are highly variable among patients, coming and going over time and affecting one or many joints of the body.

About Xeljanz

Xeljanz is a newer type of drug known as a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor. Janus kinases are enzymes that play a role in inflammation and RA. Xeljanz—which is taken orally—blocks the activity of these enzymes.

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of Xeljanz, 395 PsA patients were treated with one of two doses of Xeljanz and evaluated in comparison to treatment with an inactive substance known as a placebo.

Both doses of Xeljanz improved the measurable response of the PsA patients and the drug was well tolerated.  Serious adverse events occurred in 4% to 6% of PsA patients.

This data were presented to the United States Food and Drug Administration and  \ the Arthritis Advisory Committee in August of 2017 and in part, lead to unanimous backing from the committee for Xeljanz approval.


Gladman D, Rigby W, Azevedo V, et al. Tofacitinib for Psoriatic Arthritis in Patients with an Inadequate Response to TNF Inhibitors. N Engl J Med 2017; 377:1525-1536October 19, 2017DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1615977

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