A Swiss team found that tocilizumab (Actemra/Genentech) was effective in treating newly diagnosed or relapsed patients with giant cell arteritis.
A Swiss team found that tocilizumab (Actemra/Genentech) was effective in treating newly diagnosed or relapsed patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA).
Reporting in an abstract due to be presented Nov. 10 at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, Sabine Adler and colleagues said they successfully treated 30 patients with GCA, of whom 20 got tocilizumab (TCZ) and 10 received a placebo.
After 12 weeks 17 patients in the TCZ group and 4 who got placebo were in complete remission.
At the end of the trial 17 in the TCZ group and 2 patients in the placebo group had experienced no relapse.
"This trial demonstrates the efficacy of TCZ for induction and maintenance therapy in patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed GCA in the context of rapidly tapered glucocorticoids, they concluded.
GCA is characterized by a destructive, granulomatous inflammation in the walls of medium and large arteries. Glucocorticoid treatment controls symptoms but "unfortunately, the duration of treatment and frequents relapses lead to high cumulative doses of GC with substantial toxicity and morbidity," they noted.
TCZ, is a humanized lgG1K monoclonal antibody targeted to work against the human interleukin-6 receptor.