Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can be reduced with an experimental drug, Baricitinib: Study

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Arthritis | Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 03:00 PM

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms reduced with BaricitinibRheumatoid arthritis symptoms can be reduced with an experimental drug Baricitinib, according to research. The drug was found to significantly reduce symptoms and improve daily function among patients where other drugs may have failed.

Lead researcher Dr. Mark Genovese said, “If you have active disease and you’ve failed existing treatment options, you should have hope. There is another therapy, which will hopefully become available, that has demonstrated it can work in that situation.”

During the phase three trial, over 500 patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: One group received four milligrams of baricitinib, the second group received two milligrams of the drug, and the third group received a placebo for 24 weeks.

The researchers found that 55 percent of the patients taking higher dosages of baricitinib experienced a reduction in symptoms by at least 20 percent over the course of 12 weeks.

Of those on the lower dose, 49 percent of patients experienced similar results, and only 27 percent on the placebo saw a reduction of symptoms.

Additionally, those on barcitinib experienced an improved physical function and reduced inflammation. These benefits lasted up to 24 weeks.

The most common side effect was upper-respiratory infection, which occurred in up to 77 percent of those taking the drug. Barcitinib was also found to raise both good and bad cholesterol levels.

Barcitinib works by interfering with enzymes that are necessary for various inflammatory substances in the body to function.

Dr. Waseem Mir, a rheumatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, not involved in the study, commented, “A new drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis patients is always welcome, because when you get to treat many patients, you see that most of the drugs stop being effective. However, I do not want the rheumatoid arthritis patients to get too excited, as the study shows only a 20 percent improvement. But in combination with other rheumatoid drugs, it could be effective in helping patients.”

Tips to reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

Living with rheumatoid arthritis can be painful and challenging. Here are some tips you can utilize in order to better perform daily tasks whilst living with rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Avoid carrying heavy loads – this includes being overweight as well.
  • Be mindful of your movements – you want to be able to improve range of motion without causing more injury. Try activities like yoga or swimming, as they are gentler.
  • Ensure you are taking the necessary steps to keep your heart healthy, as having rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Partake in an osteoporosis prevention plan, as rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Deter depression, as depression affects 20 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients and has been found to worsen symptoms.
  • Get the flu shot.
  • Use warm compresses to relieve pain and boost circulation.
  • Listen to your body – slightly pushing yourself is okay, but if it ultimately doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Perform more strenuous activities during the times when you know you feel your best.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a balanced diet to ensure you are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs.
  • Make conscious modifications to activities and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get support from family and friends.

By following these tips along with sticking to your plan set out by your doctor, you can have greater success living with rheumatoid arthritis.

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