In resistant cases of RA, injectable biologics which include Enbrel, Humira, and Remicade can cost as much as $1,500 a month and carry a risk of infection.

The new pill of Tasocitinib is given orally, and if approved, it will become the first new oral drug for rheumatoid arthritis since Arava was okayed in the late 1990s. Tasocitinib belongs to a new class of oral drugs, known as JAK inhibitors, that inhibit immune system cells that are thought to cause inflammation.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system is inappropriately turned on, causing inflammation, predominantly in the joints. This, in turn, can cause pain and lead to permanent joint damage.

Tuberculosis, or the opportunistic infections, that we’ve seen with [other drugs for RA] has not been encounterd with this drug, however other serious infections were associated with this new drug in 4 % of cases.

Tasocitinib is also being studied for the treatment of several other disorders, including psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. No price has been set.