New Drug for Rheumatoid Arthritis Will Be Available Soon
The future of rheumatic diseases will be different from what it was yesterday. A new drug for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is being developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
This drug could make a significant difference in patients suffering from RA, especially those with relapsing forms of the disease.
AstraZeneca’s drug is called XELJANZ™. Its main ingredient is a chemical compound known as JWH-018, which acts on cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring substances found in marijuana plants. They have been shown to relieve symptoms of many medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and other inflammatory disorders such as RA.
In fact, cannabinoids have already been used successfully in treating several types of cancers and other diseases.
According to the latest research, JWH-018 may be able to treat RA because it activates a specific receptor in the body called CB2. CB2 receptors are present throughout the human body and they’re responsible for regulating mood, appetite and sleep patterns.
When activated by cannabinoids, these receptors cause cells to release endocannabinoids like anandamide or 2-AG into our bloodstreams. These chemicals have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and inflammation in joints and muscles.
Research on JWH-018 is still in a very early stage. While this drug has been shown to be effective in animal models of RA, it hasn’t been tested in humans yet.
AstraZeneca is currently involved in Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials to find out if JWH-018 can be used to treat RA. The company anticipates that its experimental drug may be available to patients in the near future.
In the meantime, there are already three other RA medications that work by suppressing the body’s immune system. The most commonly prescribed drug in this category is called REMICADE™.
It’s actually an IV infusion that’s typically administered once every eight weeks. While REMICADE has proven effective in the treatment of RA, some patients have experienced serious side effects such as upper respiratory tract infections and liver damage.
Other types of immunosuppressant drugs are also available for the treatment of RA. Some of the most common ones are CIMZIA™ (certolizumab pegol), SIMPONI™ (golimumab) and SELZENTRY™ (aflibercept).
While these drugs are very effective at controlling RA symptoms, they can cause serious side effects such as increased risk of infection and cancer. Some patients may also experience an allergic reaction to these drugs, which in rare cases may be fatal.
So while the new drug from AstraZeneca hasn’t been fully tested yet, it could potentially offer a new treatment option for people with RA who want to avoid the more traditional types of immunosuppressant drugs. This new medication may help reduce inflammation without increasing a patient’s risk of infection or cancer.
If it is approved for the treatment of RA, it may give doctors another tool to use in their fight against this disease.
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