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Clinical trial performed on experimental arthritis drug

There are many rheumatoid arthritis medications. One of the more commonly used ones is methotrexate. However, this drug sometimes doesn't prove to be able to handle the symptoms of this condition on its own. When this occurs, rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are sometimes prescribed additional drugs.

Recently, a new experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug has been developed which may someday be one of these additionally prescribed medications. The drug is called sarilumab.

A clinical trial was recently conducted regarding sarilumab. The trial's subjects were 1,200 rheumatoid arthritis sufferers for whom methotrexate alone was not proving effective. In the trial, some of the subjects were given sarilumab (either in a 150 milligram dose or a 200 milligram dose) in addition to methotrexate and the others were given a placebo in addition to methotrexate.

One of the major impacts rheumatoid arthritis can have on its victims is that it can cause them significant pain. The trial's results indicate that pain is one of the things that sarilumab might be able to help rheumatoid arthritis sufferers with. In the trial, the subjects who were given sarilumab experienced twice the degree of pain/stiffness relief as those who were given the placebo.

The trial's results also indicate that sarilumab might be able to help with another thing rheumatoid arthritis can cause, joint damage. In the trial, the subjects given sarilumab showed a 90 percent greater slowing of joint damage than the subjects given the placebo.

The pain and joint damage that rheumatoid arthritis can cause a person to suffer can have substantial effects. In some instances, this pain and damage is significant enough to make a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer partially or completely unable to work. Thus, drugs that can help reduce pain and slow down the rate of joint damage can have significant positive impacts on the lives of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.

In addition to effectiveness, another thing it can be important to look at when it comes to new medications is side effects. In the clinical trial, the subjects who were given the 200 milligram dose of sarilumab showed a higher likelihood of dropping out of the study due to side effects than those who took the placebo. One wonders what the nature of these side effects were.

Sarilumab has not yet been put up for regulatory approval. One wonders what decision will be made regarding the drug when it is.

Source: Bloomberg, "Sanofi Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Reduces Pain, Damage in Study," Simeon Bennett, Nov. 22, 2013

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