RINVOQ medication (upadacitinib)
The latest treatment that I get to try for rheumatoid disease (RD) is the new RINVOQ medication from AbbVie. RINVOQ is the brand name for the tablet upadacitinib, approved by the FDA to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) last August (2019). During clinical trials it was also called ABT-494, in case you follow new RA drugs in the pipeline.
The last few years I’ve experienced dramatic disease progression and several surgeries as well as additional extra-articular disease, so I am very glad to finally have this opportunity to try another medication for my RD. There are so many things I’ve learned from these experiences that I want to share with you to help bridge the gaps in knowledge about RD and continue to work to improve care. But first things first: the RINVOQ.
Are you taking RINVOQ medication for RA / RD?
Last week I learned about an interview for a research project about RINVOQ and RA. They want to learn about patient experiences and they are offering $150 honorarium for your time.
So I did the interview over the phone and some of you may be able to do it as well. You must have either started RINVOQ already or be in the process of starting the medication. Email me if you want to do the RINVOQ interview and I’ll send you the info.
What is the RINVOQ medication?
RINVOQ (pronounced rin-voke’) is a JAK 1 inhibitor. This is the third JAK inhibitor to be approved in the US for the treatment of RA, but it is the first one that is selective for JAK 1. Some of you may have taken Pfizer’s Xeljanz (tofacitinib) that inhibits JAK 1 and 3, or Lilly’s Olumiant (baricitinib) that inhibits JAK 1 and 2. And yes, there’s one more JAK inhibitor in the pipeline called filgotinib that also inhibits JAK 1.
What does a JAK inhibitor do? There are actually some YouTube videos on how JAKs work and what blocking them does, but it’s still pretty confusing if you’re not an immunologist. (Maybe I can get KB to write about that for us sometime!)
I found a fairly simple description on the AbbVie site for doctors: “By binding to JAK, RINVOQ is thought to block the recruitment and activation of STATs, which helps disrupt the pathological inflammatory cytokine signalling cascade in RA.” So the main thing to remember is that JAKs play a key role in immune signaling, and a JAK inhibitor interferes with that process.
Does the RINVOQ medication work?
Some of the clinical trial data show that RINVOQ could perform better than other RA / RD medications. But unfortunately because of differences in our immune systems, there is not yet a treatment that works for every person with RD. We’ll talk more soon about research on tests to help indicate which treatments will work better for specific individuals.
I’ve been taking RINVOQ barely a month now, and I want to write more soon about my experiences with it. It’s going to take at least a whole other post to talk about the medication experience, support program, and side effects. Meanwhile, please share your experiences!
WHAT DO YOU THINK? HAVE YOU TRIED JAK INHIBITORS FOR RA / RD?