Uveitis, a type of inflammation that impacts the middle layers below the white of the eyes, can be triggered by Crohn’s disease, anklyosing spondylitis, Lyme disease, and a number of other autoimmune disorders and infections.
The biologic medication adalimumab (Humira) was FDA-approved to treat uveitis two years ago, when this TNF inhibitor became the first non-corticosteroid drug to get approval to treat this problem. Although studies leading up to FDA approval showed that Humira was effective for uveitis, those trials only included a few people with Behçet’s disease, a rare inflammatory condition of the blood vessels. Now a new study confirms that the drug also works well for Behçet’s disease patients.
The new study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, focused on comparing Humira with infliximab (Remicade) to determine which drug is best for treating Behçet’s disease patients with uveitis. Although Remicade has not been approved for uveitis, since it’s also a TNF inhibitor its plausible to consider using it for this condition.
The study, which was conducted by a group of researchers from Spain, followed 177 patients who had decided (with their doctors) to use either Humira or Remicade to treat Behçet’s uveitis. Both patients and providers knew which drug they were using. Overall, researchers found that Humira and Remicade were both effective for uveitis, but after a year Humira patients were more likely to have stayed with the medication. Ninety-five percent of patients using Humira were still taking it, compared to 85 percent of those using Remicade.
Importantly, Humira seemed to have an advantage in terms of preserving eyesight among people with Behçet’s uveitis. There was “a statistically significant difference in favor of [Humira] in the improvement of best corrected visual acuity,” the authors wrote.
Best corrected visual acuity refers to what your vision is while you’re wearing prescription glasses.
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