Roche has announced the results of a Phase III study of Actemra in rheumatoid
arthritis (RA), which is being conducted by Chugai in Japan. These data conclude
that Actemra in monotherapy shows superiority to conventional disease-modifying
antirheumatic drugs in inhibiting radiographic progression of joint destruction.
The data also show that Actemra was generally well-tolerated and dramatically
improved the painful and disabling symptoms of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Actemra (tocilizumab) is a humanized antihuman interleukin-6 receptor monoclonal antibody that offers a novel mechanism of action and may become a new therapeutic option for the treatment of RA.
The overall incidence of adverse events including laboratory abnormalities was 96 percent and 87 percent in the Actemra and DMARDs control arms, respectively. While lipid increases were reported in the Actemra group, the mean cholesterol level stabilized around the upper limit of normal.