Rheum Round-up: FDA Warns About Tofacitinib, Pandemic Effect on Osteoporosis, and more

Tofacitinib May Increase Risk of Heart-related Problems, Cancer: FDA Alert

The FDA recently issued an alert pertaining to tofacitinib, used in the treatment of arthritis and ulcerative colitis, stating it may increase the risk of heart-related problems and cancer compared to tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFis). The agency previously mandated a safety trial, the results of which tofacitinib manufacturer Pfizer announced last week.

According to the FDA, “preliminary results from a safety clinical trial show an increased risk of serious heart-related problems and cancer with the arthritis and ulcerative colitis medicine Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR (tofacitinib)” when compared to TNFis. The trial also evaluated the risks of blood clots in the lungs and death, but those results are not yet available. The FDA said it will share its final conclusions when the full results of the trial are available and does not recommend that patients stop treatment before consulting with their provider.

Tofacitinib May Increase Risk of Heart-related Problems, Cancer: FDA Alert

COVID-19 Pandemic Led To Medication Interruptions, Delayed DXA Scans in Osteoporosis Patients

Patients with osteoporosis experienced medication interruptions and delayed Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a global survey. There were 209 survey respondents, most of whom were physicians (85%) and represented rheumatology (40%). In terms of DXA use to conduct disease risk assessment, 29% of respondents said they scheduled one as soon as possible, 11% assessed patients using a clinical risk calculator alone, 29% used a clinical risk calculator and planned a DXA for a later date, and 33% planned a DXA for when the risk of contracting COVID-19 would likely be lower. And just over two in five respondents said they encountered difficulty in arranging for appropriate medications for their patients.

COVID-19 Pandemic Led To Medication Interruptions, Delayed DXA Scans in Osteoporosis Patients

Even Five Years Later, Patients Lose Significant Income After Fracture Surgery

Finally, in orthopedic news, the effects of a fracture requiring surgery may persist long after physical recovery is complete. A study found patients that who underwent operative treatment for an orthopedic fracture sustained significant losses to individual and household income, which were not offset by Social Security benefits.

The study had four main points, per the researchers: substantial income loss after injury, limited access to social welfare, catastrophic income loss, and variations in income loss and social welfare benefits.

Before injury, the median wage earnings was $16,847; over the five years postinjury, the mean annual decline in individual earnings was $9,865. Fractures did appear to increase Social Security benefits, with a mean annual increase of $206 during the five-year period following surgery—but this was nowhere near the mean annual decline in income.

Even Five Years Later, Patients Lose Significant Income After Fracture Surgery