(FDA) has Approved Kevzara an IL-6 Inhibitor for the Treatment of RA

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects an estimated 1.3 million adults in the United States.

1 The condition can have a profound effect on many aspects of daily life, and is often poorly understood by those who do not have direct experience it. The good news is that important advances have been made in the management of RA: use of more effective drugs earlier in the course of RA reduces symptoms and joint damage, and allows some patients to achieve a remission (little or no active disease).2

Unfortunately not all patients respond to currently available treatments and some may cycle through different treatments without achieving any treatment goals. Kevzara (sarilumab) is a human monoclonal antibody that binds to the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) and has been shown to inhibit IL-6R mediated signaling. IL-6 can contribute to inflammation associated with RA.

The FDA approval came following the results of 2 comparative clinical trials involving 2900 adult patients with moderately to severely active RA who had an inadequate response to previous treatment regimens. In the first trial, treatment with Kevzara plus methotrexate reduced signs and symptoms of the disease, improved physical function, and demonstrated significantly less radiographic progression of structural damage compared with placebo plus methotrexate. The second trial reported reduced signs and symptoms of RA as well as improved physical function after Kevzara plus disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, compared with placebo plus disease modifying antirheumatic drugs.3

Kevzara is to be self-administered as a subcutaneous injection and may be administered as a single agent or in combination with methotrexate or other conventional disease modifying antirheumatic drugs.

References:

  1. Helmick CG, Felson DT, Lawrence RC et al. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States. Part I. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2008;58:15-25.
  2. Felson DT, Smolen JS, Wells G et al. American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism provisional definition of remission in rheumatoid arthritis for clinical trials. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2011;63:573-586.
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