Pfizer Reports Drug Trial Had One Death
Although four patients died in a recent clinical trial for an experimental treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, Pfizer Inc. claims that only one of those deaths was drug-related. The company added that the death rate associated with the drug, across several studies, “is within the range of rates reported for biologic therapies” for rheumatoid arthritis.
The experimental drug, tofacitinib, is an oral pill that Pfizer hopes can be an alternative to injectible and infused rheumatoid-arthritis drugs. Two deaths occurred during the study, one from acute heart failure and one from respiratory failure. Only the respiratory failure death was reported as â€œstudy drug-relatedâ€ by Pfizer. After the treatment ended, two other patients died, one from traumatic brain injury and one from rheumatoid arthritis.
A report of the four deaths first appeared in a summary of the study, called ORAL Sync, that was posted online by the European League Against Rheumatism, or Eular, shortly before its annual scientific conference in London. The full results will be presented on May 27.
Health experts have expressed concern that tofacitinib could be linked to heart failure, noting that some other rheumatoid arthritis treatments currently on the market are associated with risk of heart failure.
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