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Carol Eustice

Humira and Orencia Are Equally Effective for Rheumatoid Arthritis

By November 17, 2012

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It's a fact that rheumatoid arthritis patients respond differently to treatment. Even with that realization, people still ask which biologic drug works best. We can't tell you which will work best for you, but we can report on a large, international clinical trial that pit Orencia (abatacept) against Humira (adalimumab).

According to study results presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, in the first head-to-head assessment of two biologic drugs, Orencia and Humira were essentially equally effective. There were 646 patients in the study who were taking methotrexate but had not previously received treatment with a biologic drug. After 12 months of treatment, 64.8% of patients treated with Orencia achieved ACR20 compared to 63.4% of patients treated with Humira; 46.2% treated with Orencia and 46% on Humira achieved ACR50; 29.2% of patients receiving Orencia achieved ACR70 compared to 26.2% treated with Humira. Both drugs were administered subcutaneously.

Humira is a TNF blocker, while Orencia is a T-cell co-stimulation modulator. Though they have different mechanisms of action, their effectiveness was comparable.

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