Obesity lowers the effectiveness of some rheumatoid arthritis drugs

rheumatoid arthritis, biologic drug, DMARD, TNF, rituximab, abatacept, tocilizumab, obese, obesity, weight, arthritis digestObesity does not appear to impact on effectiveness of rituximab and abatacept but other biologic drugs do not fare so well, particularly for women, experts reveal in Rheumatology.

Biological therapies are designer protein drugs that target one specific chemical that has been identified to be important in the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. A number of different types of biological therapies have been developed, each of which targets a different chemical.

While the different biologic medicines work by targeting different parts of the immune system, the general idea for them all is to reduce the levels of inflammation and prevent damage. But it seems that obesity impacts on how well some of these drugs work.

Scientists recently looked at the impact of obesity on the effectiveness of conventional synthetic or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). They looked at data over six months from more than 10,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis, some of healthy weight and others who were overweight.

Obesity had a negative impact on improvement in disease activity for women receiving conventional synthetic DMARDs and TNF inhibitors, and for women and men receiving tocilizumab. No negative obesity effects on the effectiveness of rituximab and abatacept were found. The scientists conclude:

“Obesity has a negative impact on the effectiveness of cytokine-targeted but not cell-targeted therapies in daily practice, affecting more outcomes and therapies in women than in men.”

Click here to read the original research. 

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