My rheumy started me on Actemra a month ago. I go in next Thursday for my second infusion. Actemra is approved for RA in the U.S., but not for PsA, so my doctor told the insurance company that I have "seronegative RA", which gets us by. Anyone have any info / comments about this drug?
Interesting. You'll have to let us know how this works out for you.
I just did a bunch of research on this drug and couldn’t find any articles that included any PsA testing. Can you ask your doc to provide an article name for you to read yourself?
The preliminary studies are not good for PsA In the US there isn't any (which is why you might have trouble finding them)
This one is Japanese it is particularly interesting as much of interleukin-(IL-) 6 research came from here. They conclude:
"a humanized anti-IL-6 receptor antibody tocilizumab treatment for PsA was recently tried. However, the efficacy of tocilizumab for PsA was not favorable. This suggests that the pathogenic roles of IL-6 in PsA and RA are different. In RA, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) primarily contributes to the arthritis effector phase and IL-6 contributes to the arthritis priming phase. In PsA, the TNF-related effector phase is similar to that in RA, but the IL-6-related priming phase might not be critical."
The study has less to do with Actemara and more to do with the anti-IL-6 receptor.
This paper sort of sums it up:
You can read the abstract and get about as much as you can from the paper. of note is this statement: "Joint destruction is often progressive: almost half of the patients attending an early arthritis clinic showed radiological damage 2 years after diagnosis." That's why I am very passionate about getting on it. permanent damage = permanent pain.
There are no studies currently in the USA. Of 181 current studies 2 are completed for Spondylitis (a closer relative to PsA than RA. One was terminated: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01209689?term=actemra&cond=%22Ankylosis%22&rank=2 as there simply was NO efficacey. The other: suffered the same: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01209689?term=actemra&cond=%22Ankylosis%22&rank=2
That being said, it might work for PsA. There are reports of it doing so but almost all with co therapy of MTX. It seems that there is a growing interest in development of DMARDs for PsA and FWIW there have been a fair number approved of late. Sometime you just gotta try. off label use has had some amazing results. That's how we got MTX if you recall.
I met a an 11-year old girl, Emily, who is taking Actemra. She is featured in this Arthritis Foundation video:
The video doesn't mention the drug because the Arthritis Foundation doesn't support one drug over another.
Here are some links to the manufacturer that provides some info about Actemra: