(HealthDay News) – Tofacitinib slows the progression of joint damage and improves disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Desiree van der Heijde, MD, PhD, from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues randomly assigned 797 patients with RA who did not respond to methotrexate to receive tofacitinib or placebo. Patients received 5 or 10mg tofacitinib twice a day. Patients in the placebo group were switched to 5 or 10mg tofacitinib after three months if they did not respond, and all remaining placebo patients were switched to tofacitinib after six months.
The researchers found that, at six months, the American College of Rheumatology 20% improvement criteria response rates were significantly higher for both tofacitinib groups compared to the placebo group (51.5% for 5mg, 61.8% for 10mg, and 25.3% for placebo). The tofacitinib groups had reduced progression of joint erosion and joint space narrowing and a greater percentage of patients with no radiographic progression.
“Data from this 12-month interim analysis demonstrate that tofacitinib inhibits progression of structural damage and improves RA disease activity in patients with RA on methotrexate,” van der Heijde and colleagues conclude.
The study was funded by Pfizer; several authors disclosed financial ties to Pfizer.