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2017: A Year in Review for Rheumatology

· rheumatologist,rheumatology,2017 in Review,Drugs,Medicine

This blog was originally posted on Micha Abeles' website here.

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In 2017, refinements and improvements for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis were extended to other ailments as well. This included findings for lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and more. Studies and tests have been done in the attempt to advance biologics, which are drugs and proteins made from organisms’ DNA properties.

Of all the tests and studies that were released this year, there are only a few standouts that are worth highlighting in this blog. Summaries of the most important studies to advance rheumatology can be found below.

In a study called FUTURE 5, which was shown at an ACR (American College of Rheumatology) meeting, an evaluation was made about how well secukinumab works in psoriatic arthritis patients. Secukinumab, also known as Cosentyx, is an intravenous human immunoglobulin agent that is a monoclonal antibody drug. By the time week 24 of the study rolled around, about 60 percent of the patients who were taking 300mg of secukinumab every four weeks showed an improvement of about 20 percent, which was a much better response than those who received a placebo.

Another study presented in the ACR session spoke of specific responses for people who had taken risankizumab, which is commonly used for people with psoriatic arthritis ailments. The intravenous medication that is a humanized monoclonal antibody drug had shown a 60 percent improvement by the time week 16 of the study rolled around. Those numbers were much higher than those given a placebo.

Tofacitinib (part of the Janus kinase inhibitor class and often better known as the marketed pill Jakvinus or Xeljanz) had success in a phase III trial for psoriatic arthritis patients. The study, which was presented in a EULAR meeting, showed that after three months, people taking 10mg of tofacitinib twice daily had 61 percent positive results. Those who took 5mg twice daily had 50 percent positive results, and 33 percent — the placebo group — had positive results. Tofacitinib also helps with many other ailments, among which are ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory problem that affects the spine, and systemic sclerosis, which is a chronic tightening and hardening of the skin and its connective tissues.

Although 2017 has come to a close, we still have plenty to look forward to in 2018. After all, breakthroughs in scientific findings and technology always seem like they’re right around the corner! Hopefully, we can continue to generate great studies and findings to help people who have diseases like arthritis as best as we possibly can.

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