New Advanced Therapy Approved for Ankylosing Spondylitis

At Charlton Health, a center specializing in advanced treatments including biologic therapies, we are often excited when additional treatment options are made available for patients with autoimmune diseases. Recently, Rinvoq© (upadacitinib), an oral treatment option for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Atopic Dermatitis was also approved to help treat Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Rinvoq© (upadacitinib) is in a class of medications called JAK inhibitors.  Other medications in this class include Xeljanz© (tofacitinib) and Olumiant© (baricitinib).  In Canada, Rinvoq© is the first of this class, to be used for Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). This is amazing news for our patients living with AS, because their advanced treatment options consisted of only injections or infusions. If appropriate, for those patients who may not be comfortable self-injecting at home or be able to periodically attend a clinic for an infusion, Rinvoq© (Upadacitinib) may be a convenient option to be taken as one tablet by mouth every day.  

 Interestingly, another medication, Sotyktu© (deucravacitinib), within a similar class of medications as Rinvoq©, was recently approved for treating moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in the United States. Currently, it is under review for approval by Health Canada and if approved, patients with psoriasis may also benefit in the future with the additional availability of an oral treatment option. 

Kunal Bhatt, RPh, PharmD, HBSc is a staff pharmacist for Charlton Health. As a 2020 PharmD graduate from the University of Toronto, Kunal possesses a diverse range of experiences from working in hospital and community pharmacy settings. Since January 2021, Kunal was heavily invested in contributing to the efforts against COVID-19 by administering upwards of 5000 COVID-19 vaccines at William Osler Health System’s vaccination clinics. 

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