16:50 PM

Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Might Raise Heart, Cancer Risks

HealthDay reports on study findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine finding the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor treatment tofacitinib carries higher risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer when compared tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, an older class of RA treatments.

HSS physician-in-chief and chair of the Department of Medicine S. Louis Bridges, Jr., MD, PhD, who was not involved in the study, commented on potential impacts of the findings for patients and providers.

Dr. Bridges noted that there are many factors for patients to consider in deciding whether to continue a JAK inhibitor.

He explained for RA patients, finding a medication that works can be a process of trial-and-error -- and many of those on a JAK inhibitor may have already tried a TNF inhibitor. If the current medication is effective, than those benefits have to be weighed against any risks. Dr. Bridges advised having that conversation with a doctor.

“We need to look at the individual, and his or her personal risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cancer,” he explained.

Dr. Bridges added that patients' personal preferences -- including wanting an oral medication over injections or infusions -- are also important.

Read the full article at Healthday.com. Additional coverage: Medicalxpress.com.