Biologic drug adalimumab is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis
Jul 20, 2005 - 3:06:38 PM

There is good evidence that adding adalimumab (Humira) to the treatment of people with long-standing rheumatoid arthritis is more effective than using oral methotrexate alone.

Adalimumab is a relatively new antibody-based therapy. Patients given 24 weeks of therapy with adalimumab and methotrexate had decreased pain and swelling and an increased ability to perform normal daily activities compared with those given methotrexate alone or no disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). X-ray damage to the joints is also slowed. Side effects in the short-term are well-tolerated. Rare and long-term side effects are not yet known.

"The drug is relatively new and so it is not surprising that there is little data from long-term studies, but the evidence so far is encouraging," says lead author Federico Navarro-Sarabia, Chair of Rheumatology at the Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Seville, Spain.

In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence ( NICE) is currently assessing adalimumab for use in rheumatoid arthritis.

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