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EU regulator approves use of arthritis drug for severe COVID-19 patients

RoActemra reduces risk of death, speeds up recovery, says study with patients on oxygen, ventilation

Agnes Szucs   | 06.12.2021
EU regulator approves use of arthritis drug for severe COVID-19 patients File Photo


The EU drug authority said in a statement on Monday that it recommended the use of an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug for severe COVID-19 patients since it reduces the risk of death.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) human medicines committee “has recommended extending the indication of RoActemra to include the treatment of adults with COVID-19 who are receiving systemic treatment with corticosteroids and require supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation,” the regulator announced in a press statement.

The drug has already been used to treat patients with various forms of arthritis who suffer from inflammation.

RoActemra reduced the risk of death with patients who required extra oxygen or ventilation and their blood results indicated inflammation, the EMA explained, referring to a study involving over 4,000 hospitalized adult patients.

According to the study, 31% of the people cured together with RoActemra and standard treatment died within 28 days compared to 37% of those who only received standard treatment.

In addition, 57% of people from the first group were able to leave the hospital within 28 days compared to 50% from the second one.

Following the EMA recommendation, the European Commission will extend the medicine’s marketing license, which is owned by Swiss pharma company Roche.

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