Xeljanz Slows Joint Damage

Among people with moderate-to-severe RA and an inadequate response to methotrexate, treatment with Xeljanz® (tofacitinib) slows joint damage and improves disease activity. These results were published in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Xeljanz is a new 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.

To evaluate the effect of Xeljanz among patients with moderate-to-severe RA and an inadequate response to methotrexate, researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial that enrolled 797 patients. Patients were initially treated with one of two doses of Xeljanz or a placebo. Patients in the placebo group who did not have an improvement in their RA after three months were switched to treatment with Xeljanz.

  • After six months, an ACR20 response (at least a 20% reduction in symptoms) occurred in 52% of patients treated with 5 mg of Xeljanz, 62% of patients treated with 10 mg of Xeljanz, and 25% of patients in the placebo group.
  • Joint erosion and joint space narrowing worsened to a greater extent among patients in the placebo group than among patients treated with Xeljanz.

These results suggest that Xeljanz slows the progression of joint damage and improves symptoms among RA patients who have had an inadequate response to methotrexate.

Reference: van der Heijde D, Tanaka Y, Fleischmann R et al. Tofacitinib (CP-690,550) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis on methotrexate: 12-month data from a 24-month phase 3 randomized radiographic study. Arthritis & Rheumatism. Early online publication January 24, 2013.

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