In the study, 611 people with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis who had an inadequate response to at least one other drug were randomly assigned to one of two doses of tasocitinib or placebo.
Among the findings:
- A total of 66% of patients who received the higher dose of tasocitinib had at least a 20% improvement in disease activity and symptoms after three months of treatment, compared with 60% of those given the lower dose and 27% of those who received a placebo.
- Scores on a questionnaire that asks about dressing, arising, eating, walking, hygiene, reach, grip, and activities improved more than twice as much in people taking either dose of tasocitinib, compared with placebo.
But for the third primary study goal, remission according to the Disease Activity Score-28 (DAS-28) at three months, tasocitinib did not offer a substantial advantage at either dosage relative to placebo.
DAS-28 scores take into account such measures as the number of joints tender to the touch and the number of swollen joints. Using this measure, 10% of patients on the higher tasocitinib dosage, 6% on the lower dose, and 4% on placebo were in remission at three months. But the difference in remission rates did not reach what doctors call statistical significance, Fleischmann tells WebMD. He says he received consulting fees and research support from Pfizer, which makes the drug and funded the new study.