Rheumatism: New medication for painful joints

Rheumatism: New medication for painful joints

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Research: New drug successfully tested against rheumatoid arthritis

According to health experts, around 800,000 people, mostly women, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in Germany. Persistent inflammation damages the joints and bones. There is movement restriction and pain. Researchers have now successfully tested a new drug against the disease.

Permanently inflamed joints

According to the German Society for Rheumatology (DGRh), rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory joint disease. Popularly referred to in this context as "rheumatism". “With this disease, several joints are usually permanently inflamed. As a result, they can gradually deform and stiffen, ”explains the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) on its patient information portal“ ”. Researchers have now successfully tested a new active ingredient against the inflammatory, often painful and relapsing disease.

What can help those affected

In rheumatism, drugs are usually used which, in addition to pain relief, have the important function of preventing or at least slowing down permanent damage to the joints.

Sometimes natural remedies, such as radon heat therapy in warm healing tunnels, help against the pain associated with rheumatism.

In addition, scientific studies have shown that training on the game console and cereals can alleviate arthritis complaints.

So far, rheumatism has not been cured.

Effective in patients with moderate to severe disease

An international research group headed by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin has now carried out a study to investigate the effectiveness of the active ingredient upadacitinib in patients in whom so-called conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs do not have the desired effect.

As stated in a release, upadacitinib is a selective Januskinase-1 (JAK-1) inhibitor.

This substance has already been shown to be effective in this phase in previous Phase II studies. The inhibition of the enzyme JAK-1 causes an important signaling pathway to trigger an inflammatory reaction to be interrupted.

Less pain and improved joint function

According to the information in the current phase III study with upadacitinib, significantly more swelling of the joints receded compared to a sham preparation.

In addition, the patients had less pain and their joint function was improved.

Director of Studies Prof. Dr. Gerd-Rüdiger Burmester, director of the medical clinic with a focus on rheumatology and clinical immunology at Charité, is extremely satisfied with the significant improvements in clinical symptoms due to the new drug, which is available in tablet form.

"Our results show that JAK inhibitors are an effective alternative treatment option for patients with long-term diseases who do not respond adequately to conventional medication or for whom a biopharmaceutical is not a good option," said the expert.

“Treatment with JAK inhibitors could help these patients get a quick response to therapy and control over their disease. All study results are currently being compiled and sent to regulatory agencies in Europe and the United States for review. ”

The results of the study were recently published in "The Lancet". (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Innovations in Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment. Brigham and Womens Hospital (November 2022).