New treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis could be made available after clinical trials showed a ‘striking and exciting’ breakthrough, it has been reported.
Researchers found tocilizumab, the antibody drug, was almost four times more likely to slow the progression of arthritis than the most commonly prescribed alternative.
The study also found the drug reduced signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis dramatically just six months afterwards.
As part of the Adacta trial, scientists compared tocilizumab, marketed as RoActemra, with adalimumab (Humira).
The trial involved 326 patients unable to take the mainstay treatment for arthritis - a drug called methotrexate (MTX).
Some patients are unable to handle the treatment due to some severe side effects such as vomiting, hair loss and mouth ulcers.
Professor Paul Emery, a consultant rheumatologist, from the University of Leeds, said the results of the trial were impressive.
Presenting the results at the annual meeting of the European Congress of Rheumatology in Berlin, he stated: “These results are impressive and important for the 30% of patients with RA who cannot take methotrexate.
“In RA, disease remission is the goal of therapy. However, for varied reasons, many patients fail to achieve this goal.
“Adacta, which compared two active biologics as monotherapies (in methotrexate intolerant patients), has produced striking results and the results help in choosing the right drug for the right patient.”