In a latest move, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved Xeljanz (tofacitinib) to treat adults with moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have had an inadequate response to, or who are intolerant to methotrexate.

The drug is being manufactured by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. The drug is the first rheumatoid arthritis treatment from a new class of pain medications called JAK inhibitors. The drug interferes with enzymes that contribute to tissue inflammation and ultimately helps body get rid of auto-immune activities that are injurious to body.

According to the FDA, Xeljanz is being approved ahead of the product’s prescription drug user feel goal date of Nov. 21, 2012, the date the agency was scheduled to complete review of the drug application.

Like other drugs, Xelianz too has undergone rigorous phases of clinical trials and the efficacy and safety of the drug was established after seven clinical trials in adult patients with moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. The double-blind, randomized, and multinational clinical trial confirmed that in all of the trials, patients treated with Xeljanz experienced improvement in clinical response and physical functioning compared to patients treated with placebo.

However, despite its positive impacts the drug has been found to have some side effects and some of the side effects of this drug are:

  • Opportunistic infection (Infection that occur primarily when the immune system is suppressed)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lymphoma
  • Cancer
  • Increases in cholesterol levels
  • Decrease in blood counts
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea

Viewing the negative impacts that the drug is linked to, Xeljanz carries a “Boxed Warning” regarding these safety risks that warn people about the adverse impact that it can have on their body.

What is RA and auto-immune disorder?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks its own cells leading to inflammation of the joints and other surrounding tissues. According to the federal agency “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” around 1.5 million American people are suffering from this painful disease.

According to experts, Xeljanz taken twice daily, works by blocking molecules called “Janus kinases,” responsible for the joint inflammation.

Signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

The signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis vary from person to person and also change on a daily basis, still, there are some signs that are common and appear most of the time and they are:

  • Decreased range of motion in joints and limbs
  • Joints may feel warm to the touch
  • Inflammation in joints
  • Swelling in joints
  • Pain in the adjoining areas of joints
  • Lack of appetite
  • Running low-grade fever
  • Fatigue

With this move, a ray of hope has emerged among the patients who are suffering from this deadly disease and wished a remedy that could help them get rid of the disease. From Pfizer’s point of view the drug is going to do well as far as revenue is concerned and is looking forward after the drug was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.