FDA Adds Polyarticular-Course JIA to Approved Indications for Tofacitinib

Jeff Evans

October 01, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration has approved tablet and oral solution formulations of the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor tofactinib (Xeljanz) for the treatment of children and adolescents 2 years and older with active polyarticular-course juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA).

The approval, announced Sept. 28 by tofacitinib's manufacturer, Pfizer, marks the first JAK inhibitor to be approved for the condition in the United States and is the fourth indication to be approved for the drug after approvals in adult patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis following methotrexate failure, active psoriatic arthritis after disease-modifying antirheumatic drug failure, and moderate to severe ulcerative colitis after failure on a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor.

The agency based its approval on a phase 3, multinational, randomized, double-blind, controlled withdrawal study that had an 18-week, open-label, run-in phase involving 225 patients who twice daily took either a 5-mg tablet or, in patients under 40 kg, a weight-based lower dose in the form of a 1 mg/mL oral solution, according to the company press release.

A total of 173 patients from this phase met JIA American College of Rheumatology 30 response criteria, defined as 30% or greater improvement in three of six JIA core set variables and worsening in no more than one of the core set variables; they were then randomized in part 2 of the study to continue the same dose of tofacitinib or receive placebo until 44 weeks.

By the end of this period, 31% who received tofacitinib had a disease flare, compared with 55% on placebo (P = .0007). Disease flare was defined as a 30% or greater worsening in at least three of the six variables of the JIA core set, with no more than one of the remaining JIA core response variables improving by 30% or more after randomization.

The types of adverse drug reactions in patients with pJIA were consistent with those seen in adult rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to Pfizer. Serious adverse drug reactions have most commonly been serious infections that may lead to hospitalization or death, and most patients who developed these infections were taking concomitant immunosuppressants, such as methotrexate or corticosteroids.

Common adverse drug reactions reported in 2% or more of patients during the first 3 months in controlled clinical trials in patients with rheumatoid arthritis taking tofacitinib at 5 mg twice daily were upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, diarrhea, headache, and hypertension.

While the 5-mg tablet formulation is already available, Pfizer said it expects the oral solution to be available by the end of the first quarter in 2021.

Prescribing information can be found on the FDA website.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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