After the January 2021 release of limited data from a Xeljanz safety trial which often goes by its short name, ORAL Surveillance, some experts raised the possibility that there may consequences for other drugs in the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors class of drugs. Specifically, some have asked whether the FDA may extend its new Xeljanz warnings about Xeljanz causing heart problems and Xeljanz causing cancer to those other drugs.
Besides Xeljanz, there are two other JAK inhibitors approved by the FDA:
- Olumiant (baricitinib) from Eli Lilly & Co.; and,
- Rinvoq (upadacitinib) from AbbVie.
This February 4, 2021, FDA Drug Safety Communication, “Initial safety trial results find increased risk of serious heart-related problems and cancer with arthritis and ulcerative colitis medicine Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR (tofacitinib)”, announce the new Xeljanz warnings. It is the ORAL Surveillance Xeljanz safety trial data that is the basis for those new Xeljanz warnings as well as some Xeljanz drug safety alerts issued by the FDA during the past few years.
For some commentary on this Xeljanz safety trial, which started in March 2104 and was completed in July 2020, we go to this February 16, 2021, Healio Rheumatology article, “‘We need to see the data’: FDA’s Xeljanz safety warning stirs concerns for JAK inhibitors”:
[Stanley Cohen, MD, clinical professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and medical codirector of the Metroplex Clinical Research Center, told Healio Rheumatology] the fact that ORAL Surveillance was a head-to-head trial suggests there is “certainly a signal” for major cardiovascular events and cancer with [Xeljanz (tofacitinib)].
“I do think these results are serious,” Cohen said. “I think it’s something we have to look at critically, and again, with just the topline — what can you say? We need to look at all the data and better understand the data.
As mentioned above, the February 2021 FDA safety alert about Xeljanz having increased risks for serious heart-related problems and cancers raises the issue of whether all JAK inhibitors share these side effect risks:
According to Cohen, Pfizer’s results with Xeljanz indicate that other companies that produce JAK inhibitors should likely go back and examine their clinical trial programs, selecting out those patients with the same risk factors to see if there was any imbalance in MACE or malignancies.
As such, besides just watching for more data from the Xeljanz safety trial showing an increased risk of serious heart-related problems and cancer associated with Xeljanz, we will look for any indication that the new Xeljanz warnings might be added to Olumiant and Rinvoq, also.[View article in full at original source]