Injectable Form of Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Launches in US

Methotrexate injection treats patients with rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular-course juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and psoriasis.

Methotrexate injection treats patients with rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular-course juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and psoriasis.

A new injectable form of a first-line rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug with better absorption rates than oral therapies recently launched in the United States.

Rasuvo is a subcutaneous injectable methotrexate therapy developed by Medac Pharma, Inc, is delivered in an auto-injector for the treatment of RA, polyarticular-course juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and psoriasis. The drug, which was approved by the FDA in July 2014, officially launched on October 6.

“We are pleased to bring Rasuvo to the market and provide another treatment option for patients and healthcare providers to manage rheumatoid arthritis, poly-articular-course juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and psoriasis,” said Terri Shoemaker, president and chief executive officer of Medac Pharma in a press release.

Methotrexate, which has been used clinically for more than 30 years, is still the most commonly used treatment for RA, recommended by both the American College of Rheumatology and European League Against Rheumatism as a first-line therapy. The drug has been prescribed primarily in oral form, which is associated with variable absorption rates and inconsistent bioavailability.

“Methotrexate has long been recognized as a mainstay in rheumatoid arthritis therapy,” Shoemaker said. “With its virtually painless administration, broad dose range, and significantly enhanced bioavailability, we believe Rasuvo may benefit those patients using methotrexate.”

Rasuvo was developed to optimize methotrexate therapy with a wide range of dosing options designed to improve bioavailability. The drug is available in 10 dosage strengths that range from 7.5 mg to 30 mg in 2.5 mg increments.

Rasuvo, which acts as a folate analog metabolic inhibitor, is for patients with severe and active RA who are intolerant of, or who had inadequate response to, first-line therapy. The drug is also for the symptomatic control of severe, recalcitrant, disabling psoriasis in patients who did not achieve an adequate response to other forms of therapy.

“As a rheumatologist, I believe Rasuvo will offer patients the opportunity to maximize the benefit they get from methotrexate,” said Eric Ruderman, MD, professor of medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in a press release. “Rasuvo’s dosing flexibility, in particular, will be very helpful, as RA patients do not all respond equally to methotrexate, making it important to select a treatment regimen that is appropriate for the patient’s condition.”