Trial shows benefits of abatacept

April 20, 2011

New research suggests that the T-cell inhibitor abatacept (Orencia, Bristol-Myers Squibb) can be beneficial in treating the joint manifestations of psoriatic arthritis, with lesser effects on the disease’s skin component, MedPage Today reports.

Seattle - New research suggests that the T-cell inhibitor abatacept (Orencia, Bristol-Myers Squibb) can be beneficial in treating the joint manifestations of psoriatic arthritis, with lesser effects on the disease’s skin component, MedPage Today reports.

In a multicenter phase 2 trial involving 170 psoriatic arthritis patients, 48 percent of those receiving abatacept achieved an American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 percent level improvement in arthritis symptoms at six months. That compares to 19 percent of patients assigned to placebo.

All patients had previously had an inadequate response to disease-modifying drugs such as methotrexate, and in some cases to tumor necrosis factor-inhibiting biologic agents, according to the research team. The team was led by Philip Mease, M.D., of the University of Washington.

Benefits for the skin symptoms of psoriatic arthritis were less pronounced, however: Only about one-third of the abatacept patients had a 50 percent or better improvement in their target lesion scores, compared with 17 percent of placebo patients.

“The observed trend toward differential effects of abatacept on the joints and skin may indicate that inflammation in the skin differs from that in the joints,” the researchers wrote.

The study was supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb.