Pfizer's Xeljanz matches immunosuppressant combo in rheumatoid arthritis study
Pfizer’s troubled JAK inhibitor Xeljanz has had its share of hiccups after pulmonary embolism fears derailed the drug’s higher dose in rheumatoid arthritis. Now, Pfizer is hoping for better results using Xeljanz to treat RA patients who wean off immunosuppressants. Patients treated with a solo Xeljanz dose after 24 weeks of combo therapy with Xeljanz and anti-rheumatic methotrexate showed roughly the same disease activity at 48 weeks as patients who stayed on the immunosuppressant, Pfizer said. Those findings are part of a late-breaking data set from a double-blind phase 3/4 trial set to be presented Saturday at the European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) meeting in Madrid. The drugmaker touted the data as the first of its kind to show noninferiority for a solo JAK inhibitor in RA after withdrawal from methotrexate, a powerful oral immunosuppressant often used in cancer treatment. “From a clinical perspective, these results give physicians data to help inform the decision to take appropriate patients off methotrexate,” Stanley Cohen, of Dallas’ Metroplex Clinical Research Center, said.