A popular advanced rheumatoid arthritis drug known as rituximab, but commonly referred to as MabThera could save thousands of people from the debilitating effects of Rheumatoid arthritis, RA, as well as disability if it was administered during the early stages of the disease instead of just in the end stage according to new trials of the popular drug.
Currently, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK where the trials were conducted states that MabThera should only be used if other TNF treatments have failed to produce results, but the study results prove different.
The trials included 775 patients who suffered from early stages of RA and showed that after a year of use of mabThera along with the normal course of treatment they not only experienced fewer symptoms but experienced less joint damage (almost none) compared to those who are treated with TNF drugs alone.
Among the test study group, 70% of those included did not develop any joint damage after the first twelve months of the treatment course was completed and after six months the damage almost had stopped completely.
However, the MabThera itself is not the miracle drug as simple doses of the medication will still lead to joint damage, but a combination of MabThera and TNF Treatment are effective.
The downside is that a single treatment of MabThera can cost an upwards of £3,500, but the payoff may be worthwhile to the NHS as it spends anywhere from £3.8 to 4.75 billion ($6.6billion) paying disability to those who cannot work due to RA so paying out a little more for treatment may still be the cost efficient choice.