AMGEN Arthritis Drug Moves a Step Closer to Market

Thursday, August 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An experimental treatment for rheumatoid arthritis moved a step closer to the market Thursday, although studies show it promises just modest effectiveness.

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended on a 6-2 vote that Amgen Inc.'s Kineret be approved.

Studies found that about 15 percent more patients who took Kineret than who received a dummy shot saw improvement in joint swelling and pain.

Other treatments sold today come with higher effectiveness rates. But experts note that those drugs don't help everyone so additional options are needed.

Kineret, known chemically as anakinra, works differently than other therapies, by blocking a protein called interleukin-1 that is one cause of the swelling associated with arthritis.

Side effects included irritation at the drug's injection site and a small risk of serious infection.

The FDA is not bound by its advisers' recommendations but typically follows them.