Members of the second most important family of drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis can cause serious dermatological conditions in a quarter of patients under treatment, reveals a study published today in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
Last year saw the withdrawal of frontline anti-arthritis drug Vioxx, which belongs to the cox-2 inhibitors family, when it was revealed that it poses a significant risk of heart attack and stroke. Similar findings were reported for other cox-2 inhibitors, although they are still on the market. This study shows that another family of anti-arthritis drugs, Tumour Necrosis Factoralpha (TNF-alpha) blocking agents, trigger skin conditions in 25% of patients undergoing treatment. TNF-alpha blocking agents are used to halt the process of joint destruction in patients with severe arthritis conditions.
In the first study of the kind Marcel Flendrie and colleagues, from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, followed a population of 289 patients who had been undergoing treatment for rheumatoid arthritis with TNF-alpha blocking drugs for a period of one to ten years. The drugs the patients had been taking included two anti-TNF-alpha antibodies, infliximab and adalimumab, and the TNF-alpha receptors etanercept and lenercept.
Juliette Savin | alfa
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