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Study Questions Effectiveness of Genetically-Engineered Painkiller

Written by  Taryn Tawoda | Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:25
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A Johns Hopkins study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals that the genetically engineered drug etanercept falls short in effectiveness compared to the current standard of care for steroid injections.


The genetically engineered small-protein drug, which targets and blocks the naturally produced TNF substance that causes inflammation, has been hailed as a promising treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases that case painful swelling.

In the study, a team led by Steven Cohen, MD, an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, provided epidural injections of either 60 milligrams of a steroid, 4 milligrams of etanercept, or 2 milliliters of saline to 84 adult patients with sciatica. One month after the second of two injections, the patients on steroids reported less pain and less disability than those in the other two groups.

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