October 26, 2008 / 12:15 AM / 9 years ago

J&J arthritis drug effective after 1 year: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than half of patients with psoriatic arthritis who received Johnson & Johnson’s experimental drug golimumab had improvements in joint and skin symptoms after six months, according to data to be presented at a medical meeting next week.

Those who continued to take the drug for one year experienced sustained relief, J&J’s Centocor unit said.

The drug, which is being developed along with Schering-Plough Corp, is awaiting U.S. and European approval decisions for rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.

In the late-stage study, 52 percent of patients who received the 50 milligram dose of golimumab and 61 percent who got the 100 mg dose achieved at least 20 percent improvement in arthritis signs and symptoms -- a measure known as ACR 20 -- after 24 weeks of treatment.

Just 12 percent of patients who got a placebo hit the ACR 20 measure, researchers said.

Through one year, 78 percent of patients who continued in the golimumab 50 mg group and 74 percent of patients on the 100 mg dose achieved the ACR 20 goal, researchers said. Some attained ACR 50 and ACR 70 responses, they said.

More than half of golimumab patients also experienced at least a 75 percent improvement in the scaly, inflamed skin condition associated with psoriasis through one year, researchers said.

The one-year data were to be presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in San Francisco. Results of the study through 14 weeks of treatment were presented last year.

The drug, a next-generation anti-TNF therapy, is administered every four weeks by subcutaneous injection. Anti-TNF drugs are a class of biotechnology medicines, including J&J’s Remicade, that are used to treat inflammatory diseases.

“These results demonstrate long-term efficacy of every four week dosing with golimumab in improving physical symptoms and functional ability as well as improving quality of life,” Dr Arthur Kavanaugh, a lead investigator of the Centocor- and Schering-Plough-sponsored study, said in a statement.

The 405-patient study included subjects with at least three swollen and tender joints and active psoriatic skin lesions.

Editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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