The JAK inhibitor upadacitinib (Rinvoq) has been listed on PBS since 1 May for people with rheumatoid arthritis but its availability may have been overshadowed by the pandemic lockdown, a rheumatologist says.
The once-daily JAK-1 selective inhibitor is now subsidised for treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe active RA who have responded inadequately to, or who are intolerant to, one or more DMARDs.
But Associate Professor Andrew Östör, Consultant Rheumatologist at Cabrini Medical Centre, Melbourne, says that many patients may not have had the opportunity to learn about this new treatment option during the lockdown period.
“The availability of this new option on the PBS provides an important addition to the treatment landscape and may assist with managing disease progression for people living with RA,” he said in a media statement released by sponsor Abbvie.
With many people now returning to the workplace, the company released the results of a survey of working age people living with RA, showing that almost half (45%) said the condition had severely impacted upon their ability to work or study even before the pandemic hit.
Almost a third (29%) have had to reduce the number of hours they work or move to part-time or casual work/study due to RA, while 18% have had to stop work altogether.
The PBS listing followed a positive recommendation by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) at its November 2019 meeting, which accepted upadacitinib as non-inferior in terms of effectiveness and safety compared with baricitinib. However it disputed whether it was superior in terms of effectiveness and non-inferior in terms of safety compared to adalimumab.