JointHealth™ express   July 21, 2006

Health Canada has approved a new treatment for Canadians with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. Abatacept (Orencia®) was issued its Notice of Compliance on June 29, 2006.

This is great news for Canadians living with uncontrolled moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Abatacept works by interfering with the interaction between immune cells that create and spread inflammation and damage to joints. This medication will be used, in combination with methotrexate, a commonly used medication, to treat people with RA who responded partially or poorly to either methotrexate alone or to a biologic response modifier targeting the TNF-alpha molecule.

There are now five biologic response modifiers approved for use in Canada. Each of the five works in the body a different way, and there is no way to predict which one may work in a given person. The affects of rheumatoid arthritis are very individual, so it is critical to have a number of treatment options available to best manage the disease.

To learn if abatacept or another rheumatoid arthritis treatment may be helpful to you, please speak to your rheumatologist.