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Positive results from Abbott RA study

Patients with moderate-to-severe early rheumatoid arthritis have responded positively in a trial using Abbott's Humira combined with methotrexate

Patients with moderate-to-severe early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have responded positively in a trial using Abbott's Humira combined with methotrexate.

The randomised, double-blind study, known as PREMIER, was carried out over two years and involved patients being given Humira combined with methotrexate (MTX), Humira alone or MTX alone, and evaluated the ability of Humira to inhibit radiographic progression for up to five years.

Patients who completed the two-year study and opted to participate in the open-label extension were given Humira every fortnight for three years.

The results, presented at the European League Against Rheumatism annual congress in Copenhagen, showed that more than 50 per cent of patients who were initially receiving the combination therapy and went on to receive Humira for a further three years, showed no further joint damage at five years.

"Data from the PREMIER trial show us that with early diagnosis and aggressive treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, joint damage can be prevented and patients can maintain use of their joints for up to five years," said Dr Desiree van der Heijde of the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands and lead study investigator.

Humira works by blocking tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), a protein that, when produced in excess, plays a key role in the inflammatory responses of many immune-mediated diseases. It is approved in the US and Europe for the treatment of, among other conditions, moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

10th June 2009

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