Harvard Health Letter

New pill better targets rheumatoid arthritis

In November 2012 the FDA approved tofacitinib (Xeljanz), a potent new treatment for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate, taken orally, is the first line of defense. Doctors also prescribe injectable biologic therapies (Enbrel, Humira) that quiet certain inflammatory cytokines. The new drug, which comes as a pill, targets another type of inflammatory molecule than do the two biologics. The new drug has a short-term safety profile similar to the biologic therapies, with a slightly higher rate of shingles.
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