2019 was a significant year in rheumatology. Here are the top stories covered by DocWire News this year.
Following the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s approval of its osteoporosis drug romosozumab-aqqg (Evenity), Amgen has announced the medication will be available in the United States at $1,825 per monthly dose, or $21,900 for a full, one-year course of treatment. Romosozumab-aqqg, a bone-building drug, is intended for women with osteoporosis at high risk for fracture. The FDA gave the medication a boxed warning for possible increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death. Fellow bone-building competitors include Radius Health Inc.’s Tymlos and Eli Lilly and Co.’s Forteo, both of which also have longer courses of treatment. Forteo carries a price of $41,100—nearly double that of romosozumab-aqqg—while Tymlos comes at a similar cost. However, both Tymlos and Forteo must be taken every day—and for a longer period of time—while romosozumab-aqqg is taken at a monthly dosage. For a more detailed comparison click here.
The FDA also approved AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug Rinvoq (upadacitinib). Rinvoq is an oral Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor designed for the treatment of moderate to severe RA in patients who did not respond or have an intolerance to methotrexate. Rinvoq will be sold for $59,000 a year in the U.S. Humira, also manufactured by AbbVie and indicated in the treatment of RA, costs an estimated $5,174 for a four-week supply, coming in at an annual cost of over $60,000. Rinvoq will compete with fellow JAK inhibitors Olumiant and Xeljans, manufactured by Eli Lilly and Pfizer, respectively. According to Eli Lilly, the list price for Olumiant is $2,136.90 for a 30-day supply, totaling about $25,642.80 annually. Xeljans has an estimated cost of $4,686 for a supply of 60 5-mg tablets (a recommended dose is two 5-mg tablets daily), with the annual cost coming to roughly $56,232. For more details on Rinvoq’s approval click here.
The FDA expanded the indication of Eli Lilly and Company’s Taltz (ixekizumab) to include active ankylosing spondylitis (AS). The humanized interleukin-17A antagonist initially received approval in 2016 for the treatment of plaque psoriasis, and in 2017 of active psoriatic arthritis (PsA). It now competes with Novartis’ Cosentyx (secukinumab), which is indicated to treat the same three rheumatic diseases. Cosentyx garnered FDA approval in 2015 for the treatment of plaque psoriasis, and picked up the subsequent approvals for AS and PsA in 2016. For a detailed safety, outcomes, and cost comparison, click here.
The Arthritis Foundation recently issued guidelines for the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for pain among patients with arthritis. Although CBD remains an understudied treatment avenue for the management of rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions, patients are still exploring its use on their own. A study earlier this year found that more than half of arthritis patients have tried CBD and/or medical marijuana for pain relief. Three experts were consulted: Kevin Boehnke, PhD, a researcher at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan; Daniel Clauw, MD, a professor of anesthesiology, rheumatology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan and director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center; and Mary Ann Fitzcharles, MD, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. For a summary of the guidelines click here.
Other top DocWire stories in the rheumatology section include the future of platelet-rich plasma in orthopedics, Amgen’s EVENITY rejection in Europe, and Kim Kardashian West’s lupus scare. Stay tuned for more top stories in 2020!