Updated 21 December 2015

FDA urges for arthritis drug approval

An advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration urged US regulators to approve a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis made by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.


Tofacitinib, taken orally, could serve as an alternative approach to treating moderate to severe patients who did not respond to one or more traditional therapies such as methotrexate, said the advisory committee by a vote of 8-2.

The panel urged the drug's approval despite mixed results on its effects at different doses, and some safety concerns about the risks of cancer – mainly lymphoma – and infections.

Disease cause remains a mystery

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes debilitating joint pain that can lead to deformity, and affects about 1% of people in the United States and Europe, most of them women.

Exactly what causes the disease remains a mystery, and there is no known cure.

The FDA does not have to follow the recommendations of the advisory panel though it often does.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis



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Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

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