Tags: Arthritis | COVID | experimental drugs

Arthritis Drugs Could Help Save COVID-19 Patients Lives

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By    |   Thursday, 07 January 2021 04:05 PM

Early results from new British study found that two drugs normally prescribed to treat arthritis patients could reduce the risk of death in one of 12 intensive care patients suffering from COVID-19. Tocilizumab and sarilumab appear to reduce the relative risk of death by 24% for those with life-threatening complications from COVID-19.

According to The Guardian, the drugs appear to dampen inflammation by reducing the effect of overactive proteins. Severe COVID-19 complications have been linked to rampant inflammatory response by the immune system. The new results involved analyzing data on more than 3,900 COVID-19 patients from 15 countries around the world.

Although both arthritis drugs are costly, researchers compared the benefits and risks, noting that if you treat 12 patients and save one life, it’s worth the expense. The scientists further noted that giving tocilizumab or sarilumab helped patients recover more quickly so they spent less time in intensive care, another cost-cutting plus.

Although there has been research that shows no benefit in using these arthritis drugs for COVID-19 patients, a study published last June revealed that coronavirus patients who were severely ill with COVID-19 were 45% less likely to die after being given the drug tocilizumab. The groundbreaking study was conducted on 154 intubated patients at Michigan Medicine.

According to the Daily Mail, patients given doses of the drug slashed their risk of dying in half compared to those who didn’t receive the medication. Researchers said that tocilizumab, sold under the brand name Actemra, belongs to class of drugs called interleukin-6 or IL-6 that may tame the dangerous cytokine storms that occur then the immune system overreacts to a viral attack.

Cytokine storms can cause respiratory distress which in turn could lead to organ failure and even death. Currently, the drug is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in coronavirus patients.

Other drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis were not shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 patients. In fact, they were stopped because of worrisome side effects.

A U.S. study of the arthritis drug Kevzara, which is similar to tocilizumab, was stopped after it was shown to be no better than a placebo in treating critically ill COVID-19 patients. According to The Wall Street Journal, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi, who were conducting the clinical trials, reported that 80% of the Kevzara patients had side effects compared to 77% who received placebos.

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Early results from new British study found that two drugs normally prescribed to treat arthritis patients could reduce the risk of death in one of 12 intensive care patients...
Arthritis, COVID, experimental drugs
Thursday, 07 January 2021 04:05 PM
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