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Etanercept shows promise for treating dermatomyositis
Date:6/16/2011

A multicenter pilot study of etanercept for treatment of dermatomyositis found no major safety concerns and many patients treated with the drug were successfully weaned from steroid therapy. These results are encouraging, but larger studies are needed to further investigate the safety and efficacy of etanercept. Results of this clinical trial are available in Annals of Neurology, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Neurological Association.

Dermatomyositis is a type of inflammatory myopathy that causes inflammation and progressive weakness in muscles, and is often accompanied by a purple or red skin rash. In some patients the standard treatment for dermatomyositis is prednisone, but despite steroid therapy many patients continue to experience disabling weakness and have the added unpleasant side affects associated with the steroids. Prior studies suggest that tumor necrosis factor (TNF) may play a role in the development of dermatomyositis. TNFa type of protein molecule involved in systemic inflammationis associated with other inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitits, and psoriatic arthritis, all of which seem to be responsive to etanercept therapy in studies.

"Given the positive response of other inflammatory diseases to etanercept, our pilot study aimed to assess the safety and tolerability of this drug in dermatomyositis, along with the feasibility of a forced prednisone taper," said Anthony Amato, MD, with the Department of Neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of etanercept (50 mg weekly) in16 patients with dermatomyositis. The year-long trial randomized 11 participants to etanercept and 5 to placebo, with subjects tapered off prednisone in a standardized schedule over the first 24 weeks of the study.

Trial results revealed no significan
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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