RA patients may benefit from weekly injection of Orencia, study finds

NEW YORK Patients with rheumatoid arthritis derive about as much benefit from a weekly injection of a biotech drug made by Bristol-Myers Squibb for the disease as they do from receiving it via IV on a monthly basis, according to late-stage clinical trial data released Monday.

Bristol announced results of a phase-3 study showing that patients with moderate to severe RA receiving a weekly injection under the skin of Orencia (abatacept) showed similar improvements to those receiving the IV. Results of the study will be presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting in Atlanta.

The study included 1,457 patients who had moderate to severe RA and did not respond adequately to the drug methotrexate. Patients were placed at random in groups that received either weekly injections of Orencia with a single IV loading dose or IV Orencia with methotrexate. After six months, 69.8% of those receiving injections and 65% of those on IV were showing improvements.

“These findings are significant because they demonstrate that subcutaneous Orencia may provide an additional administration option for patients and physicians,” lead study author and Stanford University medical professor Mark Genovese said. “It is important for patients and physicians to have treatment options when managing RA.”

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