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New hope for arthritis sufferers


A medicine that reduces inflammation could be an effective treatment for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who have failed to respond to similar drugs, research suggests.

Golimumab is a new tumour necrosis factor-a (TNF-a) inhibitor that prevents the chronic inflammatory response produced in people suffering from the disease.

TNF-a inhibitors are a common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, but between 30% and 50% of patients treated with these drugs have an inadequate response or are intolerant to the drugs.

Research by rheumatology expert Josef Smolen and colleagues intended to establish whether patients found any benefit from taking a second TNF-a inhibitor after failing to respond to initial treatment.

The study, published online in the Lancet, assessed the safety and efficacy of golimumab in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis who had previously been treated with either etanercept, adalimumab, or infliximab.

The results showed that significantly more patients on golimumab achieved at least a 20% improvement in arthritis symptoms than those on placebo.

A total of 35% of patients on 50mg of golimumab and 38% of patients on 100mg of golimumab showed improvement at week 14, compared with 18% of patients receiving placebo.

Copyright Press Association 2009

The Lancet

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