AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) reported two deaths in its clinical drug test of its rheumatoid arthritis drug, which is now raising public concern. The clinical test was to evaluate the drug upadacitinib (ABT-494).
The pharmaceutical company reported that one death is unknown. That patient received 15 mg of dosage. The other patient, who received 30 mg of dosage, showed signs of illness and ultimately passed away due to heart failure and presumed pulmonary embolism.
Currently, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but the progression can be slowed down anti-rheumatic drugs.
The clinical test was with patients who suffered from moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA affects the body's immune system attacks, as it attacks tissue and issues joints, and in severe cases, it is known to attack internal organs. It affects joint linings, causing joint deformities over time.
However, although there were two reported deaths, AbbVie stated that the clinical trials were successful and met the goals. Results showed that after 12 and 24 weeks of treatment, daily doses of patients receiving either 15 mg or 30 mg, met the study's primary endpoints of ACR20 and low disease activity. ACR is in a percentage range of either 20, 50, or 70, and the trial showed that 20 percent of patients showed improvements to known symptoms.
AbbVie is continuing to test and research upadacitinib across several immune-mediated conditions. Phase 3 trials of the drug are still ongoing, and the company is planning to look into to treating Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis and atopic dermatitis.