FDA Extends Upadacitinib Indications to Kids With Arthritis

Upadacitinib (Rinvoq) is now indicated for patients aged 2 years or older with active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) who cannot tolerate or achieve adequate disease response with one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, according to a press release from manufacturer AbbVie. 

For the youngest patients, upadacitinib is also available as a weight-based oral solution (Rinvoq LQ) in addition to the previously available tablets, according to the company. JIA, which includes pJIA and juvenile PsA, affects nearly 300,000 children and adolescents in the United States, and alternatives to TNF inhibitor (TNFi) therapy are limited, according to the company. 

“Pediatric patients with pJIA and PsA can be severely limited in their ability to complete daily physical tasks and participate in everyday activities. Understanding their needs today and knowing the likelihood of disease in adulthood underscores the need for additional treatment options,” Aarat Patel, MD, a pediatric rheumatologist at Bon Secours Rheumatology Center, Richmond, Virginia, said in the press release. “Having a treatment option available for patients who do not respond well to a TNFi addresses a need for the healthcare community, patients, and their families,” he said.

Upadacitinib, a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, is being studied for multiple immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. The new indication was supported by data from adults with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and PsA, 51 pediatric patients with pJIA and active polyarthritis, and safety data from 83 pediatric patients aged 2 years to younger than 18 years with pJIA and active polyarthritis. 

In the studies, the drug’s safety in pediatric patients was similar to the known safety profile in adults, which includes increased risk for serious infections such as tuberculosis, cancer, immune system problems, blood clots, and serious allergic reactions to components of the drug, according to the press release. However, the safety and effectiveness of upadacitinib for pJIA and PsA in patients younger than 2 years are unknown.

“Upadacitinib plasma exposures in pediatric patients with pJIA and PsA at the recommended dosage are predicted to be comparable to those observed in adults with RA and PsA based on population pharmacokinetic modeling and simulation,” according to the press release.

Currently, upadacitinib’s only other pediatric indication is for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in children aged 12 years or older. Upadacitinib also is indicated for treatment of adults with moderate to severe RA, active PsA, active ankylosing spondylitis, active nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis, and moderate to severe ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, but safety and efficacy for its use in treatment of these conditions in children and adolescents is unknown.

Upadacitinib also is being studied in phase 3 trials for treatment of conditions including alopecia areata, ankylosing spondylitis, atopic dermatitis, axial spondyloarthritis, Crohn’s disease, giant cell arteritis, hidradenitis suppurativa, psoriatic arthritis, RA, systemic lupus erythematosus, Takayasu arteritis, ulcerative colitis, and vitiligo, according to the press release. 

Full prescribing information and safety data for upadacitinib are available here

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