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Korea approves Olumiant pills for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
  • By Lee Hye-seon
  • Published 2017.12.12 11:50
  • Updated 2017.12.13 09:33
  • comments 0

The government has approved Olumiant (ingredient: baricitinib), an oral medication for rheumatoid arthritis, to be sold in the local market.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Monday gave the green light to Lilly Korea to sell Olumiant. While the drug received approval in Japan in July after the approval in Europe, it has yet to win the nod from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Olumiant was granted in two doses, 2mg and 4mg, in oral tablets, just like Pfizer’s Xeljanz (ingredient: tofacitinib). Olumiant’s indications were approved for adults with moderate-to-severe active rheumatoid arthritis, who do not have proper reactions to one or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or do not have drug tolerance in DMARDs.

Patients can take single Olumiant tablets or combination therapy with methotrexate (MTX). However, they are banned from taking Olumiant with DMARDs or Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors.

Olumiant is a JAK inhibitor, blocking intercellular communication paths of JAK, on which inflammatory cytokines depend.

Pfizer’s Xeljanz, launched in Korea in 2015, is the principal competitor drug against Olumiant. It is also a JAK inhibitor and comes in oral dosage.

Although the two are JAK inhibitors, Xeljanz inhibits JAK 1 and 3, while Olumiant blocks JAK 1 and 2.


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