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Updated: March 9, 2013 14:44 IST

Now, pop a pill to manage rheumatoid arthritis

M. Sai Gopal
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Final phase of clinical trials of an oral-based molecule giving satisfactory results

There is good news for scores of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), who are fed up with needles and injections on which they have to depend throughout their lives to manage RA.

In the near future, patients will soon have the option of a new class of oral-based drugs, which means now they can pop a pill or two to manage RA.

Senior rheumatologists in the capital said that the Indian drug regulatory body, the Drug Control General of India (DCGI) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are actively monitoring the final phase of clinical trials of an oral-based molecule Tofacitinib.

The final phase of clinical trials, which is being conducted on 150 patients in India across eight centres, is reportedly giving satisfying results.

In Hyderabad, the molecule is under the last phase of its clinical trials on patients in Mahaveer Hospital and Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS). According to doctors, the good results established in the clinical trials, which are registered with Clinical Trials Registry of India (CTRI) of ICMR, could well pave the way for similar oral-based drugs to hit the Indian market in the near future.

“The molecule Tofacitinib has given good results on Indian patients since 2008 in the long-term final phase of the clinical trials. These results are very specific to Indian population.

However, it remains to be seen whether this molecule will be affordable for hapless RA patients in India,” says senior rheumatologist Dr. Sarath Chandra Veeravalli.

Doctors pointed out that when more oral-based drugs to manage RA flood the market, the competition will make sure that the prices are affordable.

“There will be more such drugs in the near future, which is good news for RA patients who have to depend on drugs all through their lives,” says senior clinical researcher from Hyderabad, Dr. Ravi Kumar Neela.

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