Japan OKs Enbrel For Rheumatoid Arthritis

The drug quiets a key inflammatory compound

FRIDAY, Feb. 4, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- The drug Enbrel (etanercept) has been by approved for use in Japan to treat people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who've had an inadequate response to existing therapies.

Enbrel binds to cytokine TNF, an inflammatory compound that plays an important role in the inflammatory process of RA. Binding with the drug renders this cytokine biologically inactive, resulting in significant reductions in inflammatory activity, according to a joint statement from drug companies Wyeth K.K. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

The drug is the only fully human, anti-TNF receptor approved to reduce RA signs and symptoms in patients unresponsive to other therapies. It's administered twice weekly by injection. At first, Enbrel will be made available to medical institutions in Japan taking part in a patient surveillance program.

More than 700,000 Japanese are estimated to suffer from RA, according to the Japanese Medical Association.

More information

The Arthritis Foundation has more about rheumatoid arthritis.

SOURCE: JCN Newswire news release, Jan. 27, 2005
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