Last year the Food and Drug Administration approved Xeljanz (tofacitinib). This drug in is in its phase 3 clinical trial and continues to show promise as an alternative to methotrexate for treating Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The bottom line is that it has shown to lessen disease activity and slow down the joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1 percent of individuals worldwide, including 1.3 million Americans. A chronic condition with no cure, rheumatoid arthritis can be a lifelong condition. The best approach to the disease is to slow the progression of joint damage and lessen the impact of its symptoms, experts say.
Results of a two-year clinical trial and a one-year after trial analysis have been published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. "Tofacitinib inhibits Janus kinase (JAK) enzymes that are found in white blood cells, and which help to regulate the immune system," explained lead researcher Désirée van der Heijde, MD, PhD, in a press release. "We are examining the oral JAK inhibitor, tofacitinib, as a disease-modifying anti-inflammatory drug (DMARD) and for its ability to modulate the immune system in those with RA." source
Close to 800 people were in the study, which compared how effective Xeljanz was for rheumatoid arthritis compared to methrotrexate. One of the primary goals of the study was to find out if it would be useful in patients who had already tried the rheumatoid arthritis drug methotrexate. A 12-month analysis of the trial showed that the drug was effective in preserving joint structure in patients, even in patients who had no success using methotrexate.